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Tulsi Vivah - The legend behind the Celebration

Tulsi Vivah is celebrated on the 11th
day of the bright half of Kartik. The tulsi plant is held sacred by the
Hindus as it is regarded as an incarnation of Mahalaxmi who was born as
Vrinda.

According
to a legend, Vrinda was married to demon king Jalandhar. Being born in
water Jalandhar claimed sovereignty over the ocean and demands the 14
treasures churned out of the ocean in Vishnu's second incarnation. He
declared war and becomes a cause of danger to the gods. But she prayed
to Lord Vishnu that her demon husband would be protected, with the
result that no god was able to harm him. However on the request of the
other gods, Lord Vishnu took the form of Jalandhar and stayed with the
unsuspecting Vrinda. When the truth emerged after Jalandhar's death,
Vrinda crused Vishnu and turned him to stone (Shaligram) and collapsed.
Vishnu too retaliated but in admiration of her impeachable chastity and
piety, he transfers her into the sacred Tulsi plant and promises to
marry her annually on this day of Kartik. The origin of the ammonite
black stone or Salagram found on the bed of the river Gandaki may be
attributed to their legend.

On
this day tulsivrindavan is coloured and decorated as a bride. Sugarcane
and branches of tamarind and amla trees are planted along with the
tulsi plant. Only vegetarian food is cooked on this day. At midday, a
full meal consisting of rice, moongachi gathi, puri , sweet potato
kheer , red pumpkin vegetable cooked with pieces of sugarcane, amla and
tamarind is offered to Tulsi Vrindavan. Tulsi vivah ceremony takes
place in the late evening. Various poha dishes are offered to Lord
Vishnu. Then prasad is distributed among family members and friends.