The birthday of the Adi Kavi (the First Poet), Valmiki is celebrated on the full moon day of Ashvin (September-October). Valmiki is the author of the much celebrated epic
Ramayana in Sanskrit. He was contemporary of Rama, the hero of Ramayana. Valmiki himself
is represented as taking part in some of the scenes he relates. He received the banished
Sita into his hermitage and educated her twin sons Kusha and Lava. The invention of the
Shloka (epic meter) is attributed to Valmiki.
Originally, Valmiki belonged to a depressed class and led the life of a brigand.
He killed the people passing through the forest, but because of the influence of
some sages, he repented and betook himself to a hermitage on a hill in the district
of Banda in Bundelkhand. It is there that he eventually sheltered Sita, when banished by Rama.
He got his name 'Valmiki' because once he was so immersed in meditation, that he
allowed himself to be covered by ants and form an anthill. His original name was
Ratnakar. Many depressed classes in the country trace their lineage to Valmiki.
On his birthday he is worshipped and prayed and his portraits are taken out in
gay processions through the main bazaars and streets. Kirtans are also held in