Across India today is a day that marks the beginning of the harvest season and also of the sun’s moving north to the rashi of Makara, or Capricorn. This marks the end of winter and the beginning of longer days.
This period is also known as Uttarayan and is considered to be extremely fortunate. The harvest festival has also become a religious and seasonal celebration that honours Lord Surya, the sun God, and commemorates the sun’s arrival in Makara (Capricorn).
This year Makar Sankranti is today (January 14), Magh Krishna Paksha Dwitiya tithi. The auspicious hour, Makar Sankranti Punya Kala, begins at 8.30 am and concludes at 5.46 pm. At 8.30 am, the Makar Sankranti Maha Punya Kala begins and ends at 10.15 am.
Sankranti is worshipped as a God. Sankranti, according to legends, killed the devil Sankarasur. Karidin or Kinkrant is the day following Makar Sankrant. Devi killed the devil Kinkarasur on this day.
According to Drik Panchang, “the time between Makar Sankranti and 40 ghatis (roughly 16 hours for Indian locations if we consider 1 ghati duration as 24 minutes) from the time of Makar Sankranti is considered good for auspicious work. This duration is known as Punya Kaal.”
Worshippers usually bathe in sacred rivers such as the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery on this day.
The festival is considered auspicious for tenacity, worship, charity and sacrifice in the scriptures. This festival is considered the most auspicious occasion and is one of the few Hindu festivals aligned with the solar cycle.