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Vaikuntha Chaturdashi falls on the fourteenth day in the brighter fortnight in the Karthika Masam. It is also known as Kartik Shukla Chaturdashi.
Before knowing about the festival, let us know what is Vaikuntha. Vaikuntha Chaturdashi is observed three days after Devutthani Ekadashi. This year it will be observed on Friday, 22 November 2018.
What Is Vaikuntha?
Vaikuntha or Baikuntha is the celestial abode of Lord Vishnu. It is also known as Vaikunthaloka, Vishnuloka, Nitya Vibhuti, Paramam Padam or Vaikuntha Sagar as well. Lord Vishnu lives here with his consort Goddess Lakshmi and some other divine beings.
Where Is Vaikuntha?
According to some Hindu texts Vaikuntha is located towards the direction of constellation Capricorn. It is also stated in some texts that Lord Vishnu watches us from a point near the South Celestial Pole. It is said that all the people who achieve salvation reach this place and meet Lord Vishnu there.
Vaikuntha Chaturdashi Significance
Vaikuntha Chaturdashi follows after the period of four months when Lord Vishnu sleeps. This long period of four months known as Chaturmasa begins with Ashadh Shukla Ekadashi and ends with Kartik Shukla Ekadashi, when Lord Vishnu wakes up from his sleep, and which is celebrated as a festival. Meanwhile, when Lord Vishnu sleeps, Lord Shiva takes up the charge of the world and looks after it in the place of Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu Takes The Charge Of The World From Lord Shiva
After waking up, it is only on Chaturdashi Tithi of Kartik month that Lord Vishnu once again takes the charge from Lord Shiva and begins to look after the world. Vaikunthaloka becomes vibrant with Lord Vishnu's active presence once again.
How Is The Day Observed?
People observe this day for the worship of Lord Vishnu as well as Lord Shiva both. They keep fast for the whole day which they break in the evening. At night they should offer flowers to Lord Vishnu and perform the Puja. Thereafter, a Puja before Lord Shiva should also be performed. One can keep a night vigil and then the next day should perform a Puja before Lord Shiva again and offer food to some priests.