Tula Sankranti is one amongst the 12 sankrantis that are traditionally observed as per the Hindu traditional calendar.
It is observed on the day when the Sun enters the Tula rashi or the Libra zodiac. This has been generally known to coincide with the Ashtami of the Durga Puja.
On this day of the Tula sankranti, the sun rests of the equator and the length of day and night remains absolutely equal. Tula sankranti is also known as Garbhana Sankranti and is observed with a lot of fanfare particularly in the states of Odisha and Karnataka. In 2016, the Tula Sankranti will be observed on the 17th of October, Monday.
Rituals and traditions of Tula Sankranti
Observances of Tula Sankranti differ in various parts of the country. Some of the prominent ones are discussed below –
In the state of Odisha, Tula sankranti is an extremely auspicious day when the paddy fields are full and yields the produce of the farmers’ hard labor and toil. The name of Garbhana sankranti has come from that that imagery only where the trees are pregnant with the ripe produces. The farmers envisage Goddess Lakshmi in these lush plants and thus worship her as such. They offer her fresh paddies and rice taken from the farmland. In certain parts of Odisha, wheat plants and Kara, which is a medicinal plant known to ward off insects; are also offered to the Goddess Lakshmi as a token of worship? This is essentially done to seek blessings from the Goddess so that the harvest remains good and the yield is also as good as it is now. This worship is also carried out to protect the farmland from floods and drought as well as protect them from insects, pests, locusts etc.
On this joyous occasion, in Odisha various different types of food are prepared. All the family members sit together and wish that the whole of the year should also follow suit in the same manner. People also wear new clothes on this auspicious occasion.
In Karnataka this auspicious day is more known by the name of the Kaveri Sankramana, observed on the middle of the month of October. Kaveri because the river Kaveri is worshipped and plays an important role in this ritual and its source is Talakaveri which is important to the observance.
On this day, when the sun enters the Tula Rashi, a small fountain known as Brahmakundike; which is a small conclave shaped hole in the mountains of Brahmagiri Hills, starts filling up the Talakaveri and lots of devotees gather to collect water from the Takakaveri. It is believed that a dying person can attain salvation if this water preserved in a bottle through Kodagu is given to them.
It is believed that Goddess Parvati took the form of the river Kaveri. Thus on this day devotees worship the goddess Parvati with glass bangles, areca nuts, 3 sets of betel leaves,vermillion, turmeric and sandalwood paste. The women wear silk sarees and perform puja. They wrap any natural produce- a fruit or vegetable, mostly a cucumber or coconut in a piece of bright red or green cloth and worship the same. They also decorate it with jewels and flowers. Jewels used are mostly known as Kodava Mangalsutra and this worship is known as Kanni Puje. Devotees worship the almighty by throwing rice and bowing themselves in front of the idol prepared. The elder of the house takes out water from the well to prepare food on this auspicious day. The menu includes Dhosha, a vegetarian side dish and Payasam. Only vegetarian food is consumed on this day.
In many other regions people take holy baths on this day and the Surya or the sun is worshipped. It is believed that performing shradh or last rites for a deceased soul is also extremely meritorious and yields great result.