Saptami Tithi is dedicated to Lord Surya known as Ratha Saptami (Hindi:रथ सप्तमी | Gujarati:રથ સપ્તમી | Oriya:ରଥ ସପ୍ଥାମୀ | Tamil:ரத சப்தமி | Telugu:రథ సప్తమి)or Magha Saptami. It is believed that Lord Surya Deva started enlightening the whole world on Ratha Saptami day which was considered as birth day of God Surya. Hence this day is also known as Surya Jayanti.
February 06, 2014(Sunday)
Celebrations Nationwide but significantly in
Arasavalli(A.P); Konark (Odisha); Unao (M.P); Surya Pahar (Assam); Kumbhakonam(T.N); Modhara (Gujarat); Gaya (Bihar) besides
Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam maks special arrangements for the annual festival of Ratha Saptami
The Sun god travels in the north and south directions in a year. These are called Uttarayanam (the first half of the year) and Dakshinayanam (the second half of the year). Ratha Saptami festival marks the beginning of Uttarayanam(Uttara means North and Ayanam means Movement). On this day the Sun moves from Dhanur Raasi(Sagittarius) to Makara Raasi(Capricorn) represents Sun’s movement towards Northern Hemisphere in a north-east direction.
It is symbolically represented in the form of the Sun God Surya turning his Ratha (Chariot) drawn by seven horses, with Aruna as the charioteer, towards the northern hemisphere, in a north-easterly direction.
The symbolic significance of the ratha and the seven horses reigned to it is that it represents the Seven Colours of the Rainbow. The Seven Horses are also said to represent the Seven Days of a Week starting with Sunday, the day of Sun god Surya. The chariot has 12 wheels, which represents the 12 Signs (each of 30 degrees) of the Zodiac (360 degrees) and constituting a full year, named Samvatsara.
The Sun’s own house is Leo Zodiac (Simha Raasi) and he moves from one house to the next every month and the total cycle takes 365 days to complete.
In accordance to the Holy Scriptures there was a King who had one son. The son used to stay ill most of the time. The worries of the king were increasing day by day. Then, at the end he decided to consult someone. A very learned sage told the King that his son is not well due to some of his sins committed in past or past life. The sage also told him that his son should have faith in Lord Sun and then he should perform the rituals of Ratha Saptami which will cure him from everything. As soon as the son did the same, he got free from sins that he committed. This legend is the belief of the festival Ratha Saptami.
Ratha Saptami is a sheer dedication to the Lord Sun. The remembrance of this day as the birthday of Lord Sun or his journey both leads to worshipping the Lord Sun.
Lord Sun is deeply respected and is worshipped with strong faith in India, indeed. It is believed that Sun is the main source due to which life is sustained on Earth. Therefore, people do not miss this chance of expressing their gratitude toward Sun. Ratha Saptami in villages hold extreme importance as it also marks the beginning of harvest season for villagers.
Cultures , Rituals and Festive:
The customs and rituals followed on the day of Ratha Sapthami differ from region to region as per the religious importance. People start their day of Ratha Sapthami by bathing. Some people usually come out of their home and take bath in any holy river body. Various things like flower and water are offered to Lord Sun while worshipping in open space. People directly worship Lord Sun or they offer prayers to Lord Vishnu in his Surya form. In both the ways, it is essential to pour water in front of the Sun from your hands or any vessels.
- Devotees believe that a darshan of the Sun God on Ratha Saptami will cure them of diseases and absolve them of sins.
- The priests performed Mahabhishekham to the presiding deity with ‘Panchamrutam’ and scented water on the day.
- Devotees cook rice with milk, jaggery and sugar on a fire lit by cow dung cakes, and offered it to the Lord by placing it on a banana leaf along with berries.
Maa Aditi, Dharma Patni of Sage Kashyapa given birth to a Child on this day, the child is our wellknown Lord Surya. Thus Ratha Saptami Festival is also known as Surya (Soorya) Jayanthi or Magha Sapatami or Rathasapthami. It is believed that Sun God is eye-witnessed God. Honour to Lord Surya, the occasion is being celebrated in Tirumala, as ‘One day’ Brahmotsavam.
Lord Malayappa Swamy Procession Schedule on Ratha Saptami 2013:
Name of the Vahanam
|1||6:30am||Surya Prabha Vahanam|
|2||9:00am||Chinna Sesha Vahanam|
|8||8:00pm||Chandra Prabha Vahanam|
There are 7 prime Surya temples all over India, and lakhs of pilgrims throng at each of these temples to participate in ritual celebrations.
The festival marks the onset of spring season. The devotees will have Nija Rupa Darshanam of Surya Narayana Swamy from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m.The temple priests performed Ksheerabhishekam (offering milk bath to the idols of Sun) in the early morning, a major event during Ratha Saptami, which attracts a large number of devotees.
Magha Shukla Saptami, or Magha Saptami named as Ratha Saptami in some other sun temples, is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Surya, the sun god in Hinduism. It is one of the important festivals of orissa. It is observed on the seventh day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Magh Month (January – February). The most important ritual on the day is taking a holy dip (bathing ritual) on sunrise. The famous and colorful festival at Chandrabhaga that results in grand congregation of pilgrims from different parts of the world is celebrated during this period.
The pilgrims take a holy dip at the Chandrabhaga Tirtha near the sea and welcome the rising Sun with prayers. A grand fair is held at Khandagiri near Bhubaneswar on the same day, which continues for a week. Magha Saptami is also observed at many other places in Orissa. Millions of devotees gather here before dawn, transforming sunrise into a religious event. It is believed that a dip in the river on this day cures all illness and the spiritual benefit is compared to that off the holy Ganga. To enthusiasts outside Orissa, this festival is also known as Chandrabhaga fair.
There is an ancient Sun temple at Gaya in the state of Bihar. Offerings to the ancestors are made at the Surya Kunda or the Dakshina Maanas tank in front of the temple. Sun worship apparently was very popular in the Magadha region which included Gaya. Numerous old images of the Sun God Aditya are found in the Gaya region and there are still quite a number of sun worshippers in Gaya.There are two other notable Sun temples at Gaya, namely the Uttaraka temple near the Uttara Maanas tank and the Gayaditya temple on the river Falgu
This is a grand temple to the Sun God concieved and built in 1026.Â As in the Sun Temple at Konark, this temple was so designed that the rays of the Sun would fall on the image of Surya at the time of the equnoxes. Whatever remains of this temple is grand; The Toranas in the frontal halls, and the intricate carvings in the exterior speak of the splendour of this shrine.The sun temple at Modhera in Gujarat show a lot of Magha influence. The walls of the temple have representations of the sun god wearing a peculiar West Asian belt and boots as in the Sun temple at Gaya
The Brahmanya Dev (Baramju) temple dedicated to the Sun is located at Unao near Jhansi in Madhya Pradesh. The stone image of the Sun God stands here on a brick platform covered with black plates. Triangles representing the phases of the sun are engraved in the shrine.There is a protective brass cover for the image. Sunday is the special day of worship. This temple was patronized by the Peshwas and by the ruler of Datia, a nearby town.
The grandest and best known of all Sun temples in India is the Konark temple in Orissa. This dates back to the 13th century and it represent the highest point in Orissan temple architecture. Konark is situated 20 miles to the north east of Puri. The word Konark means corner sun.
The black pagoda at Konarak is a grand and magnificient temple in the form of the suns charriot drawn by seven horses marking the 7 days of the week. The 24 huge wheels, magnificiently carved and decorated, mark the hours of the day. This temple was envisioned by the Ganga ruler Narasimha Deva and it was not fully completed. The main idol of the Sun God on which the suns rays fall in the morning is said to have been removed by some Portuguese navigators. The temple now comprises only of the sabhamandap and the natamandir. The main temple crumbled down many years ago.
This ancient temple dedicated to the Sun is located near Kumbhakonam in Tamilnadu. Kumbhakonam and its surroundings abound in huge temples. This well known temple enshrines the Sun – Surya, Kasi Viswanatha and Visalakshi, and the other eight celestial bodies namely Chandran, Angarakan, Budhan, Brihaspati, Sukran, Saniswaran, Rahu and Ketu.