Ashokashtami is the day celebrated in worship of Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti. It is also known as Bhavani Ashtami since it falls during the time of Chaitra Navaratri.
It falls on the Ashtami thithi after the New Moon in the month of Chaitra (March-April). This year Ashokashtami is observed on April 4, 2017.
‘Ashok’ is opposite of the word‘shok’. ‘Shok’ means sorrow and Ashok means sorrow less. When you pray to Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti on this day, you will be relieved of your sorrows and lead a peaceful life.
We know the story of Rama’s battle with Ravana. Before conquering Ravana finally, Rama prayed to Shiva and Shakti for seven days as per the advice of Vibhishana and on the eighth day won over Ravana with their grace. This day is referred as Ashokashtami. The blessings of Shiva and Sakti relieved Rama of the sorrow of his separation from Sita and got him united with her.
Ashokashtami festival is celebrated grandly in Orissa and West Bengal. Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti are taken in a procession and venerated by the people. Theratha yatra celebrated in the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneshwar is an attraction for devotees on Ashokashtami.
A Fair at Unakoti Tirtha of Kailashahar subdivision in Tripura is famous for the special poojas conducted on the day to the gods and goddesses engraved on the hilly rocks. People deem it sacred to take a holy dip in the Ashtami Kunda in Unakoti.
Let us pray on Ashokashtami to get relieved of our sorrows.