Shmaba Dashami Puja occurs on the tenth day of Shukla Paksha of Pausha month of both Amanta and Purnimanta Calendars. It is observed for the wellbeing and health of the family members. It is mostly observed in Odisha.
For the year 2023, it occurs on Sunday, 1st January 2023. The exact duration of the Dashami Tithi has to be ascertained from the respecive regional calendars.
This festival is mentioned in Bhavishya Purana. As per the legend, it is believed that Bhagwan Sri Krishna and Jambavathi were blessed with a Son named Samba. He was born after Sri Krishna did penance praying to Bhagwan Shiva seeking progeny for Him and Jambavathy.
Samba was naughty by nature. One day he ridiculed Sage Narada for his looks. Sage Narada wanted to teach him a lesson in manners. So he asked him to come to a specified pool. Samba went there as directed by Narada.
At the pool, his step mothers (Bhagwan Krishna’s wives) were taking bath. Seeing Samba they got irritated at the intrusion of their privacy and complained to Bhagwan Krishna that Samba was peeping when his mothers are bathing.
Bhagwan Krishna was infuriated with Samba’s behavior and cursed him with leprosy. Samba was devastated and pleaded with Bhagwan Krishna that he was innocent and misled by Sage Narada.
Though Sri Krishna repented, He could not revoke the curse. So, He asked Samba to do penance to Bhagwan Surya and get cured.
Hence Samba came to the place where river Chandrabagha merges with the ocean and did severe penance for 12 years seeking the blessings of Bhagwan Surya.
Bhagwan Surya was pleased with his penance and cured Samba by applying the water of Chandrabagha river on him. When Bhagwan Surya took the water, a sharp narrow curve was formed in the river bed.
Samba, pleased and humbled with Bhagwan Surya’s mercy and as advised by Sage Narada, wanted to build a temple in the new land formed in the river bed as a sign of gratitude. The statue of Bhagwan Surya standing on lotus and having lotuses in both hands was discovered in the site and the temple was built.
Konark Sun Temple
The temple built by Samba is believed to be Konark Sun Temple. The narrow curved land is called Kona and Arka is another name for Bhagwan Surya. Hence the name Konark emerged.
It is customary to draw an eight petaled lotus with a sandal stick in the front of this temple. In the middle of the lotus, a copper vessel has to be kept. In the vessel, ghee, water, til (sesame seeds), red sandal piece and red colour flowers are to be put and offered to Sun God at Sunrise. As per Brahma Purana, this ritual is believed to alleviate the sins of the seven births.
On the festival day, women wake up much before sunrise and sanctify themselves with bath. Then they prepare the following foodstuff:
- Oriya Puri; and
- Ghadghadia Tarkari
These are offered to Bhagwan Surya as Neivedya at Sunrise and distributed.
For the noon, the following are prepared:
- Pitha (cake), which includes Manda Pitha, Kakara Pitha, Poda Pitha, Arisha Pitha;
- Biri Laddoo;
- Makar Chaula;
- Dhanu Muaan;
- Chhenagaja; and
- Sweet Curd.
At noon, women take bowl of turmeric water with a betal nut to the small temple like structure which has Tulasi (basil) leaves on the top. There, they view the noon Sun through the turmeric water and offer the Pithas and other food in leaves (believed to be brinjal leaves) as Neivedyam to Bhagwan Surya.
Then they read the story of Samba Dasami Vrat and pray for the health and well- being of all their family members.
The specialty is that separate food item is prepared in the name of each of the family members and Neivedyam to Sun God are made accordingly. When a new Child is born, the first Samba Dashami for the child is significant.
After Sunset, another Puja named Mahakala Puja is performed for the well-being and long life of the family members. A food item named Budha Chukli is prepared and offered as Neivedyam to Lord Yama.
Thus, this festival is being observed throughout the day. It also signifies that the exposure to the Sun dispels most of the skin deceases.
Sri Surya Slokam
There are innumerable Slokams / Stotrams available to invoke Sri Surya. A few of them are