Ratha Saptami Pooja at Suryanar Temple
Ratha Saptami is dedicated to Surya, the sun god in Hinduism. Ratha Saptami February 2011 date is February 10. The day is popularly observed as Surya Jayanti and Magh Saptami. Hindu God Surya riding seven horses is worshipped on the day. The popular belief is that earth’s inclination towards the sun is the steepest on the day. Special bathing rituals are observed in some regions on the day. A kolam of Surya riding a chariot is made on the ground and worshipped in many places. Some people boil milk in earthen vessels on the day. Another important ritual on the day is taking bath using Erukku leaves. This is followed mainly in Tamil Nadu. The rituals observed on the day vary from region to region. The day is of great importance at the Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple and special pujas are held on the day.
The Suryanarayana Temple, one amongst the famous nine navagraha temples of Tamilnadu, is located at Tirumangalakkudi near Kumbhakonam. The presiding deity of this temple is the Sun God or Suryanarayana, seated on a chariot or vimanam. The temple also houses shrines to each of the other eight celestial planets. Devotees circumambulate the entire temple nine times. Ratha Saptami in the Tamil month of Thai, and the first Sundays in the months of Aavani (Leo or Simha) and Kartikai (Scorpio or Kartika) and Vijaya Dasami are observed with special pooja and festival. If the sun is not well placed in your horoscope or is afflicted by evil planets or is debilitated, it is recommended that you offer pooja at this temple regularly to overcome the doshas. Also, those who chant the gayatri mantra regularly can gain the grace of Lord Suryanarayana by offering pooja at this temple. The benefits of worshipping Surya Bhagavan are: victory over external enemies (foes) and internal enemies (weaknesses such as lust, anger, jealousy etc.), long life and good health, destruction of sins, dissolution of worries and anxeity, long lasting prosperity and auspicious qualities.