It is Magha or rathsaptami today, the seventh day of the month of Magh, that is the seventh day of the Sun entering the Zodiac Capricorn. This day is also the birthday of Sun, Suryajayanti. The sun temple at Konark, a heritage site situated at Chandrabhaga on the east coast of Orissa, has been built in 12th century in the form of a chariot, with 12 wheels and seven horses. The horses stand for seven colours of the solar spectrum. A great scientific idea advanced by the ancient saints in India. Every wheel has 12 spokes representing 12 zodiac signs or months. There are sun temples at Modhera in Gujarat, Arasavalli in Andhra Pradesh and Kumbhokonam in Tamilnadu. The temples in Jammu and Kashmir and Multan (now in Pakistan) have been destroyed.
The importance of Sun on the life and weather on the earth need not be emphasized. Even the energy stored in coal, hydrocarbon and other forms like wood is due to the sun. From this point of the sun is considered as a god and is worshipped from time immemorial. In ancient times in many Latin American countries, Mesopotamia and Africa there are evidences of the sun worship.
The people in India worship the sun god in their daily lives. People offer flowers, water and burn lamps to pay their respects. Specially on Rathsaptami day people in very large numbers take bath before sunrise at Konark and many other locations. For example, this year about half a million people had the holy dip at Konark.
Festivals such as this bring people together from different walks of life, and much more than that make them realize the importance of natural phenomena in a delicate form of nature worship. May mankind take note the significance of natural objects like rivers, seas, oceans, hills, forests, the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars and leave them untarnished for their own benefit. This day is dedicated to the Sun.