Hindus and Jains across the country would be celebrating Akshay Tritya on 18th April 2018. Also known as 'Akha Teej', the festival falls on the third lunar day of Shukla Paksha of Baisakh month. Akshay Tritya is considered to be one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. 'Akshay' in Sanskrit means imperishable and eternal, while Tritiya means "third". For Jain community too, the day is of significant importance. Akshay Tritiya commemorates the first Tirthankara's (Rishabhanatha) ending his one-year asceticism by consuming sugarcane juice poured into his cupped hands. Akshay Tritiya 2018: It is said that, on this day, Lord Ganesha started writing Mahabharata

On this day, Hindus also begin their annual construction of chariots for the Puri Rath Yatra festivities, in Odisha. Akshay Tritiya is considered to be very auspicious for beginning and buying something new. Businessmen often choose Akshay Tritiya to start their ventures. It is also one of the most auspicious days for marriages. 

Several mythological tales and folklores are associated with Akshay Tritiya. It is said that it was on this day, Lord Parshuram, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu was born. Some also believe, that on this particular day, Ved Vyas began reciting Mahabharata to Lord Ganesha. According to another legend, it was on this day, river Ganges first descended upon earth from heaven.  Another very popular legend associated with Akshay Tritiya is that of the Akshay Patra- the miracle earthen pot gifted to Draupadi, which ensured Pandavas had a never-ending supply of food. 

Significance of Akshay Patra

The legend of Akshay Patra is one of the most loved fables of Mahabharata. When the Pandavas were living their lives in exile, they were visited by many sages. The cottage of Pandavas was also a spot for many counsels and meetings. One day Lord Krishna visited the Pandavas with a couple of his friends. They sat down and started talking, until Krishna noticed that Draupadi had not come out to greet them. He went around the cottage in search of her only to find her weeping in the kitchen. Upon asking, Draupadi showed him the pot in which she had cooked rice that morning, and said "This is all I have in my kitchen, Krishna." The rice-pot was empty, and she had no more rice left in the cottage to serve the guests outside. Krishna took the pot and asked Draupadi to check again if the rice pot was really empty. Draupadi looked again and saw just one grain sticking to one side of the pot. Krishna told her that even a single grain of rice offered with humility is enough to satiate the universe. Lord Krishna took the grain and put it in his mouth and not just him, at that point, every human being present in the universe was satiated.  This divine episode took place on the day of Akshay Tritiya. It is said that Krishna gifted her an 'Akshay Patra', the inexhaustible vessel which would ensure that not just Pandavas, but even those visiting Pandavas would never have to go hungry. According to other versions, the Akshay Patra was gifted to Pandavas by Sun God Surya. The divine vessel, could feed everyone on earth with unlimited rice and food. Until Draupadi, the last person to eat among the Pandavas feasted, the Akshaya Patra would not be emptied. The legend of Akshay Patra is one of the most renowned legends of Mahabharata, teaching values of humility and offering and sharing food with people. 

Here's wishing you all a very Happy Akshay Tritiya, 2018.