This Puja occurs on the tenth day of Shukla Paksha of Pausha month observed for the wellbeing and health of the family members. It is mostly observed in Odisha.
This festival is mentioned in Bhavishya Purana. As per the legend, it is believed that Lord Sri Krishna and Jambavathi were blessed with a Son named Samba. He was born after Sri Krishna did penance praying to Lord 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 (Lord Krishna’s wives) were taking bath. Seeing Samba they got irritated at the intrusion of their privacy and complained to Lord Krishna that Samba was peeping when his mothers are bathing.
Lord Krishna was infuriated with Samba’s behavior and cursed him with leprosy. Samba was devastated and pleaded with Lord 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 Lord 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 Lord Surya.
Lord Surya was pleased with his penance and cured Samba by applying the water of Chandrabagha river on him. When Lord Surya took the water, a sharp narrow curve was formed in the river bed.
Samba, pleased and humbled with Lord 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 Lord Surya standing on lotus and having lotuses in both hands was discovered in the site and the temple was built.
About 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 Lord 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.
How the Samba Dashami festival is celebrated?
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 Lord Sun 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 Lord 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.