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Guru Dwadashi is observed on the 12th day during the waning phase of moon (Krishna Paksha) in the month of Ashwin as per traditional calendar followed in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The corresponding month in North Indian calendar is Kartik .Popular belief is that Shri Vallabha an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya left the earth on the day. The day is also observed as Vaghbaras and Govatsa Dwadashi .The main ritual on the day is offering puja to cow and calf as it symbolizes auspicious and prosperity. In some regions, Govatsa Dwadashi marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations.
Gurudwadashi is very important for the followers of
Lord Dattatreya. The first incarnation of lord Dattatreya is Sreepada Sreevallabha. His birth place is Pithapuram in East Godavari district of Andhra pradesh. He reached Kuravapur (kurugadda) which is nearer to Raichur of Karnataka which is on the bank of Krishna river and
performed penance there.He closed his avathara of Sreepadavallabha in Krishna river on the day of " Ashweeja bahula dwadashi " and the day is termed as " Guru dwadashi " in all the kshetras of Lord Dattatreya.
Guru Dwadashi is also celebrated in grand manner at Gangapur Dattatreya Temple in Karnataka. The festival is celebrated for four days in the temple which marks the culmination on Deepavali. On Ashwin Krishna Chaturdasi day, thousands of devotees lead a procession for Ashta Theerthams. Some devotees start Gurucharitra Parayana on Sripada Vallabha Jayanthi and conclude on Guru Dwadashi day.
Guru Dwadashi is known as Wagh Baras in Gujarat, Vasubaras in Maharashtra, Govatsa Dwadashi or Vyaghra Dwadashi in rest of India.