Ratha Saptami or Rathasapthami is among the most significant Hindu festivals to be observed on the’ Saptami’ (7th day) during the Hindu month Maagha’s Shukla Paksha… Popularly known as “Magha Saptami”, “Ratha Saptami” or “Surya Jayanti” is devoted to the Hindu Sun God, Lord Surya. Lord Surya is recognized as Lord Vishnu Avatar. The term ‘Ratha’ means ‘chariot’. This day marks the birth of Surya Bhagwan, and it is claimed that Sun God enlightened the entire world on this day.
According to Hindu mythology, it is assumed that Lord Surya is riding a chariot drawn by seven horses to the north-eastern direction. It has proved the spiritual significance of the Ratha and the seven horses because it portrays the rainbow’s 7 colors. It is also said that the seven horses portray the seven days of the week. The chariot has twelve wheels, indicating the Zodiac’s twelve signs and containing a full year, called Samvatsara. Overall this festival is to be belied that the lord sunlight & energy throughout the year.
Ratha Saptami also indicates the steady temperature rise throughout South India and expects the arrival of spring, which is later praised by the Ugadi festival. there are several temples in India of Lord Sun and celebrations take place in all these temples on the day of Ratha Saptami the most popular once are:
- Konarak Sun Temple, (world heritage Site) Orissa.
- Narayan Temple, Ganjam District.
- Martand, Jammu and Kashmir.
- Navagraha temple, Assam & Tamil Nadu.
Rituals during Ratha Saptami:
On Ratha Saptami’s day, devotees get up early to take a dip into holy water before sunrise; by carrying many Ekka (Calotropis Gigantea) leaves on their head and chanting while taking a bath which Is believed to seek the Lord’s beneficence and good health in the rest of the year
Devotees give’ Arghyadan’ to Sun God at the moment of sunrise After finishing the bath. The ‘ Arghyadan’ ritual is completed by presenting water in standing position gently from a small Kalash in Namaskar Mudra to Surya Bhagwan by facing Him.
Next comes doing puja along with naivedhya which means presenting fruits, flowers, and food to god. The Gayathri, Adityahridayam, Surya Sahasram namam, Suryashtakam, are l prayers that are offered to the Sun god on this day.
During this festival, women make lovely rangoli right in front of their homes. Milk is put in mud vessels in the courtyard and boiled facing the light. This milk will then be used to make for the Sun God the sweet rice or’ Paramannam’ Bhog to offer
The gathering of people is going to be high on Rathasapthami day for Darshan. On this special day, the procession is taken of the deity on the Mada streets around the temple. For celebrating Surya Jayanthi the Rathasapthami is celebrated. the Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is very popularly known for the celebration with big puja .. On this day, Lord Malayappa Swamy’s along with Bhudevi & Sridevi is brought to a procession in the streets of Thiru Mada in Tirumala.