Amalaki Ekadashi is observed by the Hindu devotees on the 11th day of waxing moon during the month of February and March. Ardent worshipers hold this day in high esteem. Indian Gooseberries are worshipped in an exclusive manner. A Gooseberry tree, Latin name Phyllanthus Emblica is referred to as Amla tree in India. The reason behind observing this day is a belief which says that Lord Vishnu resides in the Amla tree. Devotees seek the divine blessings of the Lord Vishnu. Amalaki Ekadashi falls on the 11th day of the Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar during Shukla Paksha. Dedicated to Amlaki, the observance of this Ekadashi is believed to bring in prosperity and benefits. In Odisha, it is known as Sarbasammat Ekadasi which is celebrated in Lord Vishnu and Lord Jagannath temples. If Ekadashi falls on Thursday, it is regarded as more auspicious and is observed with special prayers and rituals. The next day of Amalaki Ekadashi is known as Govinda Dwadashi.
Significance of Amalaki Ekadashi:
The day has more significance due to its relation to other festivals. The grand celebration of Holi begins from Amalaki Ekadashi. With the belief that the Lord Vishnu resides in the Amla tree, devotees offer their prayers to the Amla tree. Goddess Lakshmi is considered to be the omnipresent deity. Hence, people offer sacred prayers to the Goddess of Wealth. It is speculated that Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, along with Radha is known to reside near the tree. From the most significant health benefits to offering prosperity and health, Amla tree has religious as well as medicinal importance. Amla tree is widely used for manufacturing of medicines as it contains Vitamin C.
According to one of the inscriptions, King Chitrasena along with his followers had observed the fast on Amlaki Ekadashi. During one of his hunting experiences, the king got captured by a group of demons. However, they were successfully destroyed after a divine power emerged from the body of King Chitrasena. After getting back the consciousness, the king learned that it was because of the Amalaki Ekadashi Vrat that he got protected.
Celebration and Rituals:
After bathing in the river, devotees visit the temple of Lord Vishnu. They offer a pot filled with water, as well as a fine canopy, sandalwood, roli, flowers, diyas and aromatic incense to Amla tree. Brahmins are served with meals beneath the Amalaki tree. Most devotees observe a fast on this day and also perform all-night vigil, fasting, and worship Lord Vishnu Some devotees observe a partial fast, abstaining from food made of rice and grains.