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Shamba Dasami

Shamba Dasami is the day, which is dedicated to the worship of the Sun God. This festival is generally celebrated in the bright fortnight of the month of Pousha (Nov.-Dec.).  This auspicious day on the Pausasuklapakshya dasami is dedicated to the primordial deity responsible for human existence, the God of light,Sun. Sun-God is venerated as the all-powerful lord in whose reverence the famous Konark temple was built. As part of the ritualistic practice, the ladies offer fruits and sweets in the twilight hour, sweetened dalrice and vegetables at midday and fried cakes and milk porridge at sunset, to the Sun-god and pray for the well-being of their family. The elderly women who propitiate the Sun God to

keep their children free from all diseases mostly observe this festival. Those who are childless also pray for childern. On this day, the Sun God is invoked thrice. Once in the morning, then at mid-day and lastly in the evening, before the sun sets.
There is a legend attached to the festival, which tells about how and when the festival came to be observed. It also finds mention in the Shamba Purana. Shamba was the most handsome son of Krishna who was also very proud. He never paid any respect to his elders and mostly spent his life in licentious habits. Once he came across Narada, who is revered by all Gods and Goddesses. But Shamba didn't pay any respect to him. Instead he played tricks. This enraged the sage. In order to take revenge of this insult Narada made a false allegation against him before his father Lord Krishna that he had seen him in love-play with Gopis who are to be respected like mothers. Enraged with this Krishna cursed him to be afflicted with leprosy. As a result Shamba got afflicted with leprosy and lost his handsome features which were his pride. Narada never believed that the curse would be so severe. He repented and then advised Shamba to go to the Maitreya Bana to sit in penance to receive the blessings of the Sun God who would only cure him from this dreadful disease. Shamba sat in penance for long twelve years. Being pleased with his devotion the Sun God cured him of the disease. The day Shamba was freed from the disease is known as Shamba Dasami. The day is observed as a festival to propitiate the Sun God as the best healer of diseases.

Maitreya Bana is identified with the present site of Konarak where Shamba spent the rest of his life worshipping the Sun God. Later, considering the religious importance of the place Langula Narasingha Deva, the mighty Ganga ruler of Orissa built the famous shrine of Sun God at Konarka in 13th century A.D.

Shamba Dasami Id-ul-Zuha (Bakr-Id) Makar Sankranti Saraswati Puja Maghasaptami
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