Significance of Dhanu Sankranthi

Dhanu Sankranthi is celebrated today by millions of devotees, especially in the state of Orissa. The festival commemorates the entry of Sun into Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius) and commencement of the holy Dhanur month for Vaishnavas, which ends on the Makara Sankranthi day. The festival is also known as Dhanur Sankraman.

Rituals Observed

Devotees wake up early in the morning, take holy dips in Yamuna, Godavari and Ganga rivers and offer prayers to Sun God. Special pujas and prayers are offered to Lord Jagannath in the world famous Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa. Priests offer Dhanu Maun, a special sweet dish made of rice flakes, to the Lord.

In the town of Bargarh in Orissa, street plays are conducted for 11 days depicting various incidents in the life of Lord Krishna, including the visit of Lord Krishna and Balarama to the bow ceremony held by the evil Kans. It is believed that Kans invited Lord Krishna and Balarama to the ceremony on the Dhanu Yatra day in order to kill them. The entire town turns into a big theatre and the renowned Dhanu Yatra is held during this period.

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