Dhanu Sankranti 2023: Date, Timings, Significance and Celebration

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Dhanu Sankranti 2023 is an auspicious Hindu festival in which the Sun transits and enters into the Dhanu Rashi, i.e., the Sagittarius zodiac. This festival is of great significance in Odisha, especially because it is observed with great joy and happiness. The beginning of the Dhanur month is observed with special puja rituals that are performed in dedication to Lord Jagannath. Dhanur month starts with the festival of Makar Sankranti. This festival is also celebrated by worshipping Surya Dev or Sun God. 

During the festival time for almost 15 days, starting from 16 December 2023, the Bargarh town of Odisha looks magnificent and colourful. All children and adults celebrate together and various kinds of plays and musical performances take place. The entire area of about 5 kilometres becomes like a theatre where a large number of people visit and get involved in the enactment of various episodes of Lord Krishna’s life.

Dhanu Sankranti 2023 Date and Timings

In 2023, Dhanu Sankranti falls on 16 December, Saturday.

  • Punya Kaal Muhurta between 04:09 p.m to 05:44 p.m, December 16 
  • Maha Punya Kaal Muhurat: 04:09 p.m to 05:44 p.m, December 16 
  • Sankranti Muhurat: December 16, 2023 04:09 p.m

Dhanu Sankranti 2023 Puja Procedure 

  • On the day of Dhanu Sankranti, devotees worship Lord Jagannath in various parts of India and this festival is celebrated with great grandeur, especially in Odisha.
  • The festival of Dhanu Sankranti starts from the 6th day of Shukla Paksha of the month of Poush and continues till the Purnima of Poush month. 
  • Devotees prepare special prasad on this day such as sweetened rice flakes which are offered to the Lord during the Puja rituals.
  • There’s a special “Bow down ceremony” which is often shown through a street play and is conducted according to its mention in the Bhagavata Purana. Devotees come to Puri, Odisha to worship Lord Jagannath and celebrate Dhanu Sankranti 2023.
  • This day is very auspicious for donations or daan punya. Some devotees also conduct ancestral pujas on this day.
  • Apart from this, devotees should also indulge in Sankraman Japa, holy water baths and pitru tarpan.
  • Devotees also offer flowers and water to Surya Dev early in the morning just after sunrise to receive their blessings. Some devotees, mostly women, also fast on this auspicious day seeking a good, happy, healthy and prosperous life.

Also Read, Significance of Pitru Tarpan during Pitru Paksha Shradh

Lakhs of devotees flock to the doors of Puri Jagannath temple on the day of Dhanu Sankranti 2023, which includes many foreigners too. They join in to witness the great ceremony of rituals performed in dedication to Lord Jagannath and to receive blessings and prasad. The temple is beautifully decorated and the devotees sing songs related to Lord Jagannath and chant various mantras to please him. Singing and chanting also help in increasing the enthusiasm and energy among the devotees.

Celebration of Dhanu Sankranti in Odisha

Dhanu Sankranti is a festival of great importance in the state of Odisha. Special prayers are offered to Lord Jagannath on this day and the devotees conduct pujas at various places too. In the state of Odisha, the festival of Dhanu Sankranti commences on the first day of the lunar month of Poush. Special sweet delicacies such as sweetened rice flakes known as Dhanu Maun are offered to Lord Jagannath during the puja as bhog. The very famous Dhanu Yatra is also organized during this time in the Bargarh town of Western Odisha. The Dhanu Sankranti celebrations are organized in many different places but the best and the most popular one happens to be celebrated in Odisha.

Understand the importance of Bhog

A street play is organized based on Lord Krishna’s visit to Mathura to see the Bow Ceremony which was organized by Kansa. It is celebrated from Pousa Shukla Sasthi Tithi which is the sixth day of the bright fortnight of Poush month to Pousa Purnima i.e. the full moon day of Poush month and is continued for ten to eleven days in a row. Dhanu Yatra is said to be the biggest open-air theatre in world history. The entire region of Bargarh within a radius of about 5-6 kilometres turns into a big theatre during these 11 days. Kansa had invited Krishna and Balaram to attend the Dhanu Yatra and had planned to kill them during the Yatra. Therefore, it’s called Dhanu Yatra since he planned to kill them with a bow and arrow i.e. Dhanu. 

This yatra shows the enactment of small episodes of Mahabharata starting from Lord Krishna’s birth to the killing of the demon King Kansa in the hands of Krishna. During this festival, the town of Bargarh becomes very like Mathura. Jira river which is on the border of Bargarh town becomes Jamuna and on the other side of the river Jira, a small village named Ambapali turns into Gopapura. There’s a mango orchard, which serves as Vrindavan and a pond which is used as Kalindi Sarovar. Different scenes mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana are enacted in various places of Bargarh town and Ambapali village. Most of the people in the town are part of the play.

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