Radhasapthami is an auspicious festival celebrated by Hindus and it is dedicated to Lord Suryanarayana. It is during this time that Surya/Sun moves from the southeast to the northeast. We worship Lord Suryanarayana for better health and well-being. The Ratha Saptami festival seeks the benevolent cosmic spread of energy and light from the Sun God.
Ratha Saptami is also called Surya Jayanthi as it marks the birth of Surya and referred as Magha Saptami as it falls on the seventh day (Saptami) in the bright half Shukla Paksha of the Hindu month Maagha. It’s symbolic representation is sun god Surya turning his Ratha or chariot drawn by seven horses. The seven horses are said to represent the seven days of a week starting with Sunday, the day of Sun god Surya. The chariot has 12 wheels, which represents the 12 zodiac signs. The Sun’s own house is Leo (Simha) and he moves from one house to the next every month and the total cycle takes 365 days to complete.
Seven Arka leaves (errukkam leaf) are important on this day. Ladies keep seven leafs with turmeric and akshathai on their head and take bath. One on their head, two on shoulders, two on eyes and two on feet. Fasting is important on this day. It is very auspicious day to offer tarpana to our ancestors. Women put rangoli with seven horses and chariot representing sun god. chakkrai pongal is prepared and offered to god for good health and prosperity.
On Ratha sapthami a one-day Brahmotsavam is held in Thirumala.On this day, the presiding deity of Lord Malayappa Swamy along with his divine consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi are taken to a procession in Thiru Mada streets in Tirumala. The deities carried out in a jubilant procession around the Thiru mada streets encircling the holy Shrine of Balaji on seven different vahanams(sapthami=seven) .Due to this reason the day of RathaSapthami is called as “Mini-Brahmotsavam” in Tirumala.The day starts with “Surya prabha vahanam’ at round 5.30 am early morning, followed by Chinna Sesha Vahanam at 9 am, Garuda Vahanam by 11 am, Hanuman Vahanam by 1 pm, Chakrasananam by 2 pm, KalpavrishaVahanam by 4 pm, Sarvabhoopala Vahanam by 6 pm respectively.The day is ended with the Chandra Prabha Vahanam at 8 pm. Lord Venkateshwara will bless devotees for about 1 hour in each Vahanam (from the start time), in the Thiru Mada Veedhis of Tirumala Tirupathi.