Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Makar Sankranti is one of the most fantastic festivals for the Hindus, and is popular in almost all places in wide range public kinds, with fantastic dedication, zeal and fun. It is a reap festival. The Occasion presents kite lovers world-wide to the fascinating elegance and social variety of India. The time between Makar Sankranti and 40 Ghatis is considered good for auspicious work. This duration of forty Ghatis is known as Punya Kaal. The activities of this occasion, like taking bath, offering Naivedhya (food offered to deity) to Lord Surya, offering charity or Dakshina, performing Shraddha rituals and breaking fast or Parana, should be done during Punya Kaal.
If Makar Sankranti happens after Sunset then all Punya Kaal activities are postponed till next day Sunrise. Hence all activities should be done in day time.This festival traditionally simultaneously starts with the beginning of the Sun's northward journey (the Uttarayan) when it crosses the threshold sign of Makar (the Capricorn). According to the Solar Calendar it falls on the 14th of January every year. Lakhs of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar & Prayag and pray to Lord Sun.
Sun for the Hindus positions for Pratyaksha-Brahman - the manifest God, who symbolizes, the one, non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious divinity blessing one & all tirelessly. Sun is the one who exceeds time and also the one who rotates the famed Wheel of Time. The famous Gayatri Mantra, is recited everyday by each and every faithful Hindu and is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom. Sun not only represents God but also stands for a personification of knowledge & wisdom. Lord Krishna discloses in Gita that this established divinity was his first follower, and we all know it to be indeed a worthy one too.
It is celebrated with great splendour in southern parts of the nation as Pongal, and in Punjab is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi. Gujarati's not only look respectfully up to the sun, but also offer thousands of their colourful oblations in the form of beautiful kites all over the skyline. They may be trying to touch up to their glorious God or bring about superior vicinity with the one who represents the best. It is a day for which Bhishma Pitamah kept waiting to leave his mortal coil.
In state of UP, Sankrant is termed 'Khichiri'. People residing here take a dip in the holy rivers as they believe it is most auspicious. Magha-Mela, a fair that begins on this occasion at Prayag(Allahabad). Apart from Triveni, ceremonial bathing also takes place at various places like Garh Mukteshwar and Haridvar in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in Bihar.
Every year in Bengal a very big Mela is programmed at Ganga Sagar where the river Ganga is assumed to have submerged into the nether region and vivified the ashes of the 60,000 dynasties of King Bhagirath. On this day the people in Maharashtra exchange tilguds made from til (sesame seeds) and jaggery and it is a famous Makar Sankranti receipe.
There is a custom of giving Makar Sankranti greetings, gifts to relatives in Gujarat. On this day Pandits gives scholarships to learners for higher studies in philosophy and astrology. Flying a Kite has been associated with this holiday in a big way. It has become a well-known event in India and in overseas too.
I wish all my friends up there a very Happy Makar Sankranti