MAKAR SANKRANTI, which marks the solar ingress in Capricorn, was celebrated with fervour and zest in the City today. The celebrations in fact had begun on Saturday with Sindhi, Punjabi and Sikh communities celebrating Lohari.
Sun for the Hindus stands for Pratyaksha Bramha - the manifest God, who is non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious divinity blessing one and all ceaselessly. Sun is the one who transcends time and also the one who rotates the proverbial Wheel of Time.
The famous Gayatri Mantra, chanted by faithful, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence and wisdom, as the deity is considered as an embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. The people, therefore, look reverentially up to the sun that enters northern hemisphere this day.
Apart from religious significance, the solar ascendancy helps in ripening of the crops and brings in the much-awaited warmth needed to relieve the uncomfortable wintry chill. India being an agricultural country, therefore, regards it as one of the most auspicious days. No wonder, it is celebrated across the country in different cultural ways with devotion and gaiety.
It has astrological significance too as from this day begins the six-month long ‘Uttarayan’, considered auspicious for attaining higher worlds after life. It is believed that the person who dies during ‘Uttarayan’ becomes free from the cycle of birth and death.
Keeping in view its astro-religious significance, a large number of denizens from Indore left for Ujjain and Omkareshwar to take holy dip in Kshipra and Narmada while paying obeisance to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity there.
The sweets made of sesame were offered to the deities and elders in the family to seek their blessings. The use of oil-rich sesame in recipes (laddo, barfi, chutney) has special connotation for it smoothens the winter-weary dry skin and facilitates digestion. Hence it is also given in alms.
After prayers and exchanging good wishes, it was time to fly kites. The sky, particularly in old Indore, was dotted with colourful kites of various shapes and size. Evenings were also reserved for family get-togethers and merriment. The late evening saw end of ‘malmaas’ that meant beginning of auspicious ceremonies like weddings from Monday after a month-long hiatus.