Agrasen Jayanti Date in the current year: October 3, 2024

Agrasen Jayanti Agrasen Jayanti is an annual holiday celebrated in some Indian states on the fourth day of the month of Ashwin in Hindu calendar. It commemorates the birth anniversary of Maharaja Agrasen, a legendary Indian king credited with founding the city of Agroha.

Maharaja Agrasen founded and ruled Agroha, a city of merchants. The Agrawal community, whose members are known for their business skills, claims descent from him (its name literally means “Agrasen’s children” or “people of Agroha”).

According to legend, Agrasen belonged to the mythological Solar dynasty founded by king Ikshvaku, the grandson of the solar deity Vivasvan. As a member of a royal dynasty, Agrasen belonged to the Kshatriya varna but adopted the Vaishya dharma for the benefit of his people, essentially moving to a lower social group by becoming a merchant instead of a warrior.

Agrasen was married to King Nagaraj Kumud’s daughter Madhavi. She chose him as her husband when Agrasen attended her swayamvara, a ceremony where a girl wishing to marry chooses a husband from a group of suitors. One of Madhavi’s other suitors was Indra, the king of Svarga (heaven) and the god of thunder, lightning, storms, rains, river flows, and war. When Madhavi chose Agrasen, Ingra was enraged and made sure that there was no rain in Agrasen’s kingdom, which led to a famine. Agrasen then decided to declare war on Indra, but eventually the two reconciled thanks to sage Narada’s mediation.

The legend of the foundation of Agroha says that Agrasen traveled all over India with Madhavi at his side to find a location for his new kingdom. One day they came across tiger cubs playing with wolf cubs. They saw it as an auspicious sign that the area was the “land of the brave” (veerabhoomi), so the king and queen decided it was a good place for their new kingdom, which they named Agroha.

During Agrasen’s rule, Agroha became a thriving kingdom of traders. Legend has it that at its heyday Agroha was home to a hundred thousand merchants. When an immigrant came to settle there, each of the city’s inhabitants gave him a brick and a rupee, so that the newcomer could build himself a house with a hundred thousand bricks and start his own business with a hundred thousand rupees.

Agrasen is also considered to be the creator of seventeen and a half Agrawal gotras (clans). The fractional number of gotras is explained by another legend. To create a clan, Agrasen had to perform an animal sacrifice (yajna). During the eighteenth sacrifice, he felt remorse for slaughtering innocent animals and abandoned the sacrifice halfway, which led to the formation of a “half” gotra.

Agrasen’s birthday, commonly referred to as Agrasen Jayanti, is a public holiday in the Indian states of Haryana and Punjab. It is also widely celebrated in Uttar Pradesh. Agrasen Jayanti is marked with colorful processions, various cultural programs and charity events, such as food distribution and free medical camps.

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Agrasen Jayanti, holidays in India, regional holidays, Maharaja Agrasen