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Friday, February 16, 2024

Ratha Sapthami :Celebrating the Divine Chariot

  shekharagouda       Friday, February 16, 2024
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Ratha Saptami: Celebrating the Divine Chariot


Ratha Saptami, also known as Surya Jayanti or Magha Saptami, is a significant Hindu festival celebrated with fervor and devotion across India. It falls on the seventh day (Saptami) of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu month of Magha, typically in January or February according to the Gregorian calendar. This auspicious day is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God, and is marked by various rituals, prayers, and festivities.

✍🏻 01.Origins and Significance:

The roots of Ratha Saptami can be traced back to ancient Hindu scriptures and epics. According to Hindu mythology, Ratha Saptami commemorates the birth of Surya, the solar deity, to Sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi. It is believed that on this day, Surya embarked on his journey across the heavens in his golden chariot drawn by seven horses, symbolizing the seven colors of the rainbow and the seven days of the week.
The significance of Ratha Saptami extends beyond the celestial realm to the earthly domain. It marks the onset of spring, heralding the transition from winter to summer. The festival is also associated with the agricultural cycle, signaling the beginning of the sowing season and the preparation of fields for the upcoming harvest. Farmers pray to Surya for a bountiful harvest and prosperity.

✍🏻 02.Rituals and Celebrations:

Ratha Saptami is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by Hindus, who engage in various rituals and customs to honor Lord Surya and seek his blessings. One of the central rituals of the festival is the worship of the Sun God at sunrise. Devotees wake up early, take a holy bath in rivers or sacred water bodies, and offer prayers to Surya, facing the rising sun. They chant hymns and mantras dedicated to Surya, seeking his guidance, protection, and blessings for health and prosperity.
Another significant aspect of Ratha Saptami is the ceremonial worship of the Sun God's chariot. Devotees draw intricate kolams (rangoli) representing the chariot on the ground outside their homes. In some regions, specially decorated chariots are also prepared and adorned with flowers, mango leaves, and other auspicious decorations. The chariot is then worshipped with offerings of flowers, fruits, coconut, and incense.
One of the most iconic rituals associated with Ratha Saptami is the practice of Arghya, where devotees offer water to the Sun God. They pour water from copper vessels or conch shells while reciting prayers, symbolizing purification, gratitude, and reverence towards the life-giving energy of the sun. It is believed that offering Arghya on Ratha Saptami absolves one of past sins and brings spiritual merit.

✍🏻 03.Regional Variations:

While Ratha Saptami is celebrated across India, it is observed with unique regional variations and customs. In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the festival is known as Surya Jayanti, and special rituals are performed at the famous temple of Lord Surya in Arasavalli. In Karnataka, the festival is celebrated as Surya Pongal, where devotees prepare traditional dishes like Pongal (sweet rice pudding) as offerings to the Sun God.
In Maharashtra, Ratha Saptami coincides with the festival of Shiva Jayanti, celebrating the birth anniversary of Lord Shiva. Devotees take a holy dip in rivers like the Godavari and offer prayers to both Lord Shiva and Lord Surya. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, devotees flock to the banks of the Yamuna River in Mathura to witness the grand procession of Lord Surya in a beautifully decorated chariot.

✍🏻 04.Symbolism and Spiritual Significance:

Ratha Saptami holds profound symbolism and spiritual significance in Hinduism. The chariot of Lord Surya represents the human body, with the seven horses symbolizing the seven chakras or energy centers. Just as the sun illuminates the world with its light, the festival of Ratha Saptami is a reminder to awaken the divine light within oneself and dispel the darkness of ignorance and negativity.
The journey of the sun across the heavens is symbolic of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Ratha Saptami teaches us the importance of embracing change, letting go of the past, and moving forward with renewed vigor and vitality. It is a time for inner reflection, spiritual growth, and seeking the grace of the divine to navigate life's journey with strength, courage, and wisdom.


Ratha Saptami is more than just a festival; it is a celebration of the cosmic order, the divine energy that sustains all life, and the eternal cycle of creation and destruction. It reminds us of our connection to the natural world, the importance of gratitude, and the power of faith and devotion to overcome obstacles and attain spiritual liberation.
As we celebrate Ratha Saptami, let us pay homage to Lord Surya, the dispeller of darkness, and seek his blessings for a brighter, happier, and more fulfilling life. May the divine chariot of Surya illuminate our hearts and minds with love, compassion, and divine grace, guiding us towards the path of righteousness and eternal bliss.

FAQ: Ratha Saptami

Q  01: What is Ratha Saptami?
A: Ratha Saptami is a Hindu festival celebrated to honor Lord Surya, the Sun God. It falls on the seventh day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Magha.

Q  02: When is Ratha Saptami usually observed?
A: Ratha Saptami typically falls in January or February according to the Gregorian calendar.

Q  03: What does the term "Saptami" signify in Ratha Saptami?
A: "Saptami" refers to the seventh day, indicating that Ratha Saptami falls on the seventh day of the bright half of the month.

Q  04: What is the significance of Ratha Saptami?
A: Ratha Saptami marks the onset of spring, symbolizes the sun's journey across the heavens, and signifies the transition from winter to summer.

Q  05: What are the main rituals associated with Ratha Saptami?
A: Rituals include sunrise prayers, chariot worship, offering Arghya (water) to the Sun God, and taking holy baths in rivers or sacred water bodies.

Q  06: How do devotees prepare for Ratha Saptami?
A: Devotees wake up early, take a holy bath, and offer prayers to Lord Surya, facing the rising sun.

Q 07: Are there regional variations in the celebration of Ratha Saptami?
A: Yes, Ratha Saptami is celebrated with unique customs across India. In Andhra Pradesh, it is known as Surya Jayanti, while in Karnataka, it is called Surya Pongal.

Q  08: What does the chariot symbolize in Ratha Saptami?
A: The chariot represents the human body, and the seven horses symbolize the seven chakras or energy centers.

Q  09: Why is water offered to the Sun God during Ratha Saptami?
A: Offering water symbolizes purification, gratitude, and reverence towards the life-giving energy of the sun.

Q  10: What is the spiritual message of Ratha Saptami
A: Ratha Saptami reminds us to awaken the divine light within ourselves, embrace change, and seek spiritual growth and enlightenment.
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