Ratha Sapthami Pooja (Suryanarayana Pooja): Vidhi, Puja Samagri, and Benefits

Ratha Sapthami, also known as Suryanarayana Pooja, is a significant Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God, Surya.

Celebrated on the seventh day (Sapthami) of the bright half of the Hindu month Magha (January-February), it marks the transition of the Sun towards the northern hemisphere.

This day is seen as a symbol of auspicious beginnings and prosperity. The rituals performed on this day aim to honor the Sun God, seeking his blessings for health, wealth, and overall well-being.

Historical and Mythological Background

The celebration of Ratha Sapthami has deep roots in Hindu mythology and tradition. According to Hindu scriptures, it is believed that Lord Surya, the Sun God, rides his chariot (Ratha) driven by seven horses, symbolizing the seven days of the week.

The significance of this day is further highlighted in the Puranas, where it is mentioned that Ratha Sapthami marks the day when Surya's chariot starts moving towards the northern hemisphere, symbolizing the end of winter and the beginning of longer, warmer days.

One of the prominent legends associated with Ratha Sapthami is the story of King Yashovarma of Kamboja, who was childless and performed severe penance to please the Sun God.

Pleased with his devotion, Surya blessed him with a son, who was cured of a serious ailment through the observance of Ratha Sapthami rituals.

This mythological background underscores the belief in Surya’s power to heal and bestow life.

Significance of Ratha Sapthami

Spiritual Significance:

Ratha Sapthami is considered a highly auspicious day to cleanse oneself of sins and to start anew.

The pooja and rituals performed on this day are believed to purify the soul and remove past karmic debts. Devotees take a holy dip in rivers, symbolizing the purification of the body and soul.

Agricultural and Environmental Significance:

For agrarian societies, Ratha Sapthami marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the agricultural season.

It is a time for farmers to prepare their fields for the new crop cycle. The festival signifies the importance of the Sun in sustaining life on Earth, promoting a deep respect for natural cycles and environmental harmony.

Health Benefits:

Worshipping the Sun has numerous health benefits. The rituals involve early morning exposure to sunlight, which is essential for the production of Vitamin D in the body.

This practice is believed to improve overall health, boost immunity, and enhance mental well-being.

Vidhi (Ritual Procedure) of Ratha Sapthami Pooja

Preparation for the Pooja:

  • Begin with an early morning bath, preferably before sunrise, as this is believed to cleanse the body and mind.
  • Purify the pooja area by cleaning it thoroughly and decorating it with rangoli, particularly the chariot (Ratha) symbol.
  • Place the Surya idol or picture on a clean, decorated altar.

Step-by-Step Guide to Performing Ratha Sapthami Pooja:

Early Morning Bath: Start the day with a holy bath, ideally in a river or by mixing a few drops of Ganga water in your bath water. This symbolizes the purification of body and soul.

Drawing the Ratha Symbol:
Use rangoli powders to draw a chariot (Ratha) on the ground or at the entrance of your home. This symbol represents the Sun God's chariot.

Setting Up the Altar: Place the idol or picture of Lord Surya on the altar. Decorate it with fresh flowers, preferably red and yellow, which are symbolic of the Sun.

Offering Pooja Items: Arrange the pooja items such as fruits, sweets, incense sticks, lamps, and camphor. Light the lamps and incense sticks to begin the pooja.

Reciting Mantras: Chant specific mantras dedicated to Lord Surya, such as the Aditya Hridayam or the Surya Ashtakam. These mantras invoke the Sun God’s blessings.

Performing Arti: Perform the arti by waving the camphor or lamp in circular motions in front of the idol while ringing a bell. This signifies the dispelling of darkness and ignorance.

Offering Naivedyam: Offer Naivedyam (prasadam) which includes fruits, sweets, and other delicacies to the deity. This is later distributed among family members as a blessed offering.

Concluding the Pooja: Conclude the pooja by offering prayers for health, prosperity, and well-being. Seek forgiveness for any mistakes committed during the ritual.

Puja Samagri (Pooja Materials)

To perform the Ratha Sapthami Pooja, the following items are required:

  • Surya Idol or Picture: A representation of Lord Surya to be placed on the altar.
  • Rangoli Materials: Colored powders for drawing the chariot symbol.
  • Flowers: Especially red and yellow ones, symbolizing the Sun.
  • Fruits and Sweets: These are offered as Naivedyam to the deity.
  • Incense Sticks and Camphor: Used during the pooja to create a fragrant atmosphere.
  • Lamps: Typically oil lamps, symbolizing light and knowledge.
  • Specific Leaves and Herbs: Such as the Arka leaves, which are considered sacred and used in the rituals.

Each item has its significance and is chosen for its symbolic representation. For instance, the red flowers represent the fiery nature of the Sun, and the Arka leaves are believed to have medicinal properties.

Benefits of Performing Ratha Sapthami Pooja

Spiritual Benefits:

The Ratha Sapthami Pooja is believed to purify the soul, cleanse past sins, and bring spiritual upliftment. By performing this pooja, devotees seek the blessings of the Sun God for spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Health Benefits:

Exposure to the early morning sun during the rituals helps in the production of Vitamin D, which is crucial for bone health and immunity. The holistic approach of the pooja, involving physical, mental, and spiritual practices, promotes overall well-being.

Prosperity and Well-Being:

The blessings of Surya are sought for prosperity, success, and overall well-being. It is believed that performing this pooja brings wealth, removes obstacles, and ensures a healthy and prosperous life.

Environmental Benefits:

The festival promotes awareness of the importance of solar energy and environmental harmony. It encourages people to respect natural cycles and the role of the Sun in sustaining life on Earth.

Regional Variations and Celebrations

Ratha Sapthami is celebrated with regional variations across India, each adding its unique cultural touch to the festival.

Karnataka: In Karnataka, special rituals and poojas are conducted in temples dedicated to Lord Surya. Devotees gather to offer prayers and perform the traditional Ratha Sapthami rituals with great devotion.

Maharashtra: In Maharashtra, the day is marked by community celebrations and traditional practices. People visit temples, take holy dips in rivers, and perform poojas at home.

Tamil Nadu: In Tamil Nadu, the festival is celebrated with unique pooja methods. Devotees draw intricate kolams (rangoli) in front of their homes and temples. Special offerings and prayers are made to the Sun God.

Andhra Pradesh: In Andhra Pradesh, Ratha Sapthami is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The rituals include drawing the Ratha symbol with rangoli, performing pooja, and offering prasadam to Lord Surya.

Major temples associated with Ratha Sapthami celebrations include the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, the Suryanarayana Temple in Arasavalli, Andhra Pradesh, and the Surya Narayana Temple in Karnataka. Pilgrims visit these temples to participate in the grand celebrations and seek blessings.


Ratha Sapthami, also known as Suryanarayana Pooja, is a significant Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God. It holds immense spiritual, cultural, and environmental significance. The rituals performed on this day aim to honor the Sun God, seeking his blessings for health, wealth, and overall well-being.

By understanding the historical and mythological background, following the detailed pooja procedure, and using the appropriate pooja materials, devotees can perform Ratha Sapthami Pooja with devotion and sincerity.

The benefits of this pooja extend beyond spiritual purification to include physical health and prosperity.

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