Chaturmas vrata begins today, 30 June 2012. Chaturmas vrata is an auspicious austerity observed for 4 holy months in Hinduism – Shravan Month, Bhadrapad Month, Ashwin Month, and Karthik month. It starts on Devshayani Ekadashi in Ashada month and ends on Prabhodini Ekadasi day in Kartik month. Devotees believe Lord Vishnu goes into cosmic sleep (Yoga nidra) during this period.
Shaka Vrata begins on 30 June 2012 as a part of four vratas in Chaturmas. In each month, a type of food item is avoided by the devotees. In first month, from Ashada Shukla Ekadashi to Shravan Shukla Ekadashi, Shaka vratham is observed. The food items to be avoided consuming are: vegetables, fruits, mustard, red chilies, turmeric, tamarind, methi, coriander, curry leaves, ginger, green chilies, lemon, coconut, channa dhal, flour or oil.