The ‘Rathasaptami’ festival, also known as ‘Surya Jayanthi', was celebrated in the city amidst religious ecstasy on Thursday. The Durga ghat witnessed rush as devotees thronged to take a holy dip to mark Magha sukla saptami festival. The temples, more particularly Sri Vijayeeswara Swamy temple and Indrakeeladri, wore a festive look.
The priests of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam conducted Suryopasana, Aruna parayana and Mahasoura parayana on the occasion.
They gave a laddu prasadam and wheat rava kesari to devotees who paid Rs. 100. Sri Vijayeeswara Swamy Abhisheka Bhakta Brindam, continuing their tradition, conducted 35 Aruna parayana mahotsavam. As part of the celebrations, they conducted Aruna parayana. The women devotees cooked payasam as naivedyam to lord Surya on firewood stoves in open air.
The payasam was distributed to the devotees later.
Celebrations organiser Vasumarthi Kameswara Sarma said that the celebrations were started by late Dasika Appayya Sastry and his team 34 years ago. ‘Arogyam bhaskaradichhet’ says Vedas. It means those who worship Lord Surya would be bestowed with good health, he explained.
Referring to religious scriptures, Uttaradi Mutt scholar Kanugovi Vasudevacharya said that Saptami tithi is dedicated to Lord Surya. Shukla Paksha Saptami in Magha month is known as Rathasaptami or Magha Saptami.
One should take bath during Arunodaya on Ratha Saptami. Taking bath in water body like river, canal is preferred over taking bath at home, he said.
The devotees keep leaves of jilledu (datura) on their head and shoulders before taking bath. They believe that Surya blesses them with good health and fortunes if they take bath with jilledu before sunrise.