Valmiki is the author of Ramayana. Valmiki invented ‘shloka’ and he is known as Adi Kavi which means First Poet. In his early life he was a robber named Ratnakar who use to kill people and rob them. Once, he tried to rob the divine sage Narada for the benefit of his family. Then sage asked him if his family would share the sin which he incur for doing robbery. Ratnakar replied positively, but Sage asked him to confirm this with his family. When he asked his family no one agreed to take the burden of sin. Then Ratnakar understood the truth of life and asked for Sage's forgiveness. Narada taught Ratnakar the mantra for salvation. Mantra contained Lord Rama name and it should not be used by murderers like him. So Narada told Ratnakar to chant “Mara” instead of “Rama”. He meditated for so many years that ant-hills grew around his body. Finally, a divine voice declared his reparation successful and bestowed him with the name "Valmiki": "one born out of ant-hills". Ramayana was originally written by Valmiki and consists of 23,000 shlokas and 7 cantos. Ramayana consists of about 480,002 words, which is one fourth of length of Mahabharata.
Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated on the full moon day of Ashwin month of Hindu calendar. According to Hindu calendar it comes in the month of September-October. Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated widely in North India especially Rajasthan and is known as pragat diwas.
Valmiki Jayanti is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm. It is considered as auspious day and Subha Yatra are made in respect of Valmiki. Across India, prasdham and food are distributed. Temples, especially Lord Rama and Valmiki temple are well decorated with flowers, incense sticks, leaves and diyas. Pundit chants prayers in his respect and Ramayana is read in temples.