Nirjala Ekadashi, one of the most significant and challenging Ekadashi fasts in the Hindu calendar, is set to be observed on June 18, 2024. This sacred day, falling on the 11th lunar day (Ekadashi) of the waxing moon in the month of Jyeshtha (May-June), is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is known for its stringent fasting rules, where even water is not consumed.

Significance of Nirjala Ekadashi

The word “Nirjala” translates to “without water,” highlighting the intensity of this fast. Unlike other Ekadashis, where devotees may drink water and consume fruits, Nirjala Ekadashi demands complete abstinence from food and water for 24 hours. This severe form of fasting is believed to purify the mind and body, bringing spiritual merit equivalent to observing all 24 Ekadashis in a year.

Mythological Background

The origin of Nirjala Ekadashi is rooted in a fascinating story from the Mahabharata, involving Bhima, the second Pandava. Known for his immense appetite, Bhima found it difficult to adhere to the fasting rules of Ekadashi. Seeking a solution, he approached the sage Vyasa, who advised him to observe Nirjala Ekadashi. By fasting on this day, Bhima could attain the spiritual benefits of all Ekadashis combined. Following this advice, Bhima successfully observed the fast, thus setting a precedent for devotees.

Rituals and Observances

  • Preparation: Devotees begin preparations the night before, eating a light, sattvic meal and praying for strength and determination to observe the fast.
  • Fasting: The fast begins at sunrise and lasts until the next sunrise. Devotees abstain from food and water, spending the day in prayer, meditation, and recitation of hymns and scriptures dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
  • Puja and Offerings: Special puja is performed at homes and temples, where devotees offer flowers, fruits, incense, and lamps to Lord Vishnu. The Vishnu Sahasranama (a thousand names of Vishnu) is often recited, invoking the deity’s blessings.
  • Charity: Giving alms to the poor and needy is an integral part of Nirjala Ekadashi. Donating food, clothes, and money is believed to enhance the spiritual merits of the fast.
  • Breaking the Fast: The fast is broken the next day after performing a morning ritual and offering food to a Brahmin or a needy person. Devotees then consume a light, sattvic meal to break their fast.


Nirjala Ekadashi is more than just a fast; it is a profound spiritual discipline that tests one’s resolve and devotion. As devotees across the world prepare to observe Nirjala Ekadashi on June 18, 2024, the day stands as a testament to their unwavering faith and dedication to Lord Vishnu. Through fasting, prayer, and charity, they seek to purify their souls and move closer to spiritual enlightenment. May this Nirjala Ekadashi bring peace, prosperity, and divine blessings to all who observe it with sincerity and devotion.

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