Savitri has been idolized as an ideal woman whose love for her husband and parents-in-laws have been praised. She is the embodiment of dedication, love and will determination. She is the gift of Savitr (one of the solar deities), known for providing long lives to humans and immortality to the Gods to a childless king.
Legend of Birth
A generous king named Asvapati ruled the kingdom of Madra but was childless. He desperately wanted a child to carry forward his name. He left his life of pleasures and decided to meditate and pray to Gods for an heir. He lived ascetically for many years and then was visited by Savitr. Impressed by his dedication, he gave a boon of a daughter and king was extremely happy.
A beautiful girl was born to the king who was named SavitriSavitri
Savitri has been idolized as an ideal woman... to honor the Sun deity. As she was conceived through dedication and simplicity, Savitri was going to follow the same path and lead her life in an ascetic manner. Her father tried to arrange for a match for her, but she was determined in herself finding an appropriate groom. Asvapati sent warriors with her for protection while she wandered places to find a husband.
Legend of Marriage
As Savitri continued her pilgrimage, she found a small hut in a forest where a blind man, named Dyumatsena, lived with his wife and son, Satyavan. The son took complete care of his parents, worked in the forest to collect wood and food and fed his family. Looking at this pure and selfless act of Satyavan, Savitri fell in love with him. She went back home and told her father about her decision. Asvapati was shocked and hurt at her daughter’s choice of a penny less king. The father-daughter duo also came to know through Narad Muni (sage known for his intellect and manipulation), that Satyavan would die exactly after one year from the day of his marriage. Knowing everything, Savitri still married Satyavan and left for forest to live a life like a hermit, leaving her comforts and luxuries behind.
For the complete one year, she took care of her new family and never asked for anything. On the day of her husband’s death, she asked her father-in-law if she could accompany Satyavan to the forest. Dyumatsena granted her wish. The couple went to the forest and around noon Satyavan started feeling uneasy and weak. He kept his head in Savitri’s lap to take rest. Savitri then saw Yama, The God of Death, near her husband. As YamaYama
Also known as Yamaraja, Yama is the controller of the hell (Naraka)... took Satyavan’s soul, Savitri kept following him. Even after many requests of Yama, Savitri didn’t leave her husband alone. Impressed by her dedication, he asked her to ask for two wishes except the life of Satyavan. She asked for Dyumatsena’s eyesight and kingdom back through her first wish and hundred sons for herself through her second. Yama granted the wish without sensing the trap. He later realized that in order for Savitri to have kids, Satyavan’s life must be spared. He granted both her wishes.
Satyavan woke up as if from a deep sleep and the couple went home where they saw that Dyumatsena could see now and his kingdom was free from its prior ruler. They all went back to their kingdom.
In Odisha, women perform a fasting in the name of Savitri, for the long lives of their husbands. In Tamil Nadu, same ritual is followed as ‘Karadayan Nonbu’ in which married women wear yellow robes and pray for the welfare of their partners and unmarried girls ask for a suitable groom in the future.