Vijaya Ekadashi is a Hindu ritual observed during the waning phase of the moon (Krishna Paksha) in the Phalgun month of the traditional North Indian calendar. This date usually occurs in the month of February or March according to the Gregorian calendar. Vijaya Ekadashi is known as Pankoddhar Ekadasi in Orissa. The major belief behind practicing this ritual is the observance of a vrat by Lord Ram before he headed towards crossing the ocean to reach Lanka and defeating Ravana. This victory is celebrated by the entire Hindu community by observing the same vrat that once Lord Ram had kept. Know more the Vijaya Ekadashi vrat story and also learn how to observe the fast.
When Lord Rama was exiled to the forest for fourteen years, He, Sita-devi, and His brother Lakshmana stayed at Panchavati as mendicants. Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, and Rama was distressed. While searching for His beloved consort, He came upon the dying Jatayu -the great devotee-vulture Jatayu returned to Vaikuntha after telling Rama how Sita-devi had been abducted by Ravana.
Later, Rama and Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, became friends. Together they amassed a grand army of monkeys and bears and sent Hanumanji to Sri Lanka, where he was able to see Sita-devi. He delivered Rama's message to Her and then returned to Rama with Her message to Him.
With the help of Sugriva, Lord Rama proceeded toward Sri Lanka. Upon arriving at the shore of the ocean with the army of monkeys, He said to Lakshmana, "I can see no easy way to cross it."
The importance of Vijaya Ekadasi was narrated to Narada by Lord Brahma. Legend has it that when Lord Ram and his army – the Vanarasena – was searching for a means to cross the ocean to reach Lanka, Lakshmana mentioned about a great a Sage who lived nearby and said that perhaps he might provide us with a solution.