Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
Vardhaman Mahavir image at Keezhakuyilkudi, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.
Official nameMahavir Jayanti
Also calledTranslation: Birth Anniversary of Lord Mahavir; Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
Observed byJains
TypeReligious, India (National holiday)
SignificanceBirth Anniversary of Mahavir Swami
CelebrationsGoing to the Jain Temple
ObservancesPrayers, religious rituals
DateChaitra Sud Triyodashi (Vira Nirvana Samvat)
2020 date6 April (Monday)[1]
2021 date25 April (Sunday)[2]

Mahavir Janma Kalyanak is one of the most important religious festivals in Jainism. It celebrates the birth of Mahavir, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpiṇī.[a] On the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April.


According to Jain texts, Mahavir was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in the year 599 BCE (Chaitra Sud 13).[3][4] Most modern historians consider Kundagram (which is today's Kundalpur in Champaran district of Bihar) as his birthplace.[5] Mahavir was born in a democratic kingdom (Ganarajya), Vajji, where the king was chosen by votes. Vaishali was its capital.[6]

Mahavir was named 'Vardhaman', meaning "One who grows", because of the increased prosperity in the kingdom at the time of his birth.[7] In Vasokund, Mahavir is revered by the villagers. A place called Ahalya bhumi has not been ploughed for hundreds of years by the family that owns it, as it is considered to be the birthplace of Mahavir.[6]


Mahavirswami was born into Ikshvaku dynasty as the son of King Siddhartha of Kundagrama and Queen Trishala. During her pregnancy, Trishala was believed to have had a number of auspicious dreams, all signifying the coming of a great soul. Digambara sect of Jainism holds that the mother saw sixteen dreams which were interpreted by the King Siddhartha.[8] According to the Svetambara sect, the total number of auspicious dreams is fourteen. It is said that when Queen Trishala gave birth to Mahavir, Indra, the head of heavenly beings (devas) performed a ritual called abhisheka on Sumeru Parvat, this being the second of five auspicious events (Panch Kalyanakas), said to occur in the life of all Tirthankaras.[9] In the book of Jainism "Aao Jain Dharm Ko Jane", it is written that Mahavir Jain Ji in his previous birth as Marichi had started 363 hypocritical practices which are evolved into different religions practiced today worldwide.[10]


Sixteen auspicious dreams seen by the mother of all Tirthankara
Sixteen auspicious dreams seen by the mother of all Tirthankara
Ancient image of Lord Mahavir at Thirakoil
Ancient image of Lord Mahavir at Thirakoil

The idol of Lord Mahavir is carried out on a chariot, in a procession called rath yatra.[11] On the way stavans (religious rhymes) are recited.[12] Statues of Mahavir are given a ceremonial anointment called the abhisheka. During the day, most members of the Jain community engage in some sort of charitable act, prayers, pujas, and vratas. Many devotees visit temples dedicated to Mahavir to meditate and offer prayers.[13] Lectures by monks and nuns are held in temples to preach the path of virtue as defined by Jainism. Donations are collected in order to promote charitable missions like saving cows from slaughter or helping to feed poor people. Ancient Jain temples across India typically see an extremely high volume of practitioners come to pay their respects and join in the celebrations.[14]

Ahimsa runs and rallies preaching Lord Mahavir's message of Ahiṃsā (non-violence) are taken out on this day.[15][16][17]


  1. ^ "Mahavir Jayanti in India".
  2. ^ "Mahavir Jayanti in India".
  3. ^ (India), Gujarat (1975). Gazetteers: Junagadh. p. 13.
  4. ^ Kristi L. Wiley: Historical Dictionary of Jainism, Lanham 2004, p. 134.
  5. ^ "Row over Mahaveer's birthplace". The Times of India.[dead link]
  6. ^ a b Jalaj 2011, p. 4.
  7. ^ Kailash Chand Jain 1991, p. 32.
  8. ^ Pannalal Jain 2015, p. 460.
  9. ^ Pramansagar, Muni (2008), Jain tattvavidya, India: Bhartiya Gyanpeeth, p. 30, ISBN 978-81-263-1480-5
  10. ^ "Mahavir Jayanti 2021 Special: Date, True Story, Fasting, Rebirth". S A NEWS. 25 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Piety marks Mahaveer Jayanthi". Deccan Herald. 3 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Both sects of Jain community take out attractive joint procession". Archived from the original on 6 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Mahaveer Jayanti 2015: The importance of a Satvik meal", NDTV, 2 April 2015, archived from the original on 4 April 2016
  14. ^ "How and Why Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated". India Today.
  15. ^ "Jain youth to hold vegan promotion rally on Mahaveer Jayanti in pink city Jaipur". 28 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Jains gear up for Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak tomorrow". 1 April 2015.
  17. ^ Staff Reporter (30 March 2015). "Over 900 run for spreading Bhagwan Mahaveer's message". The Hindu.


  1. ^ descending half of the worldly time cycle as per Jain cosmology which is actually current now


See also