Ratha Saptami – A Day of Prayers to Surya Bhagavan or the Sun God

Surya Bhagavan
Surya Bhagavan

Ratha Saptami or Surya Jayanti is the day dedicated to the worship of Surya Bhagavan or the Sun God. It is the day that heralds the beginning of spring in South India.

This year it falls on January 26, 2015.

Traditionally this day begins with a ritual bath during sunrise. 7 Jilledu leaves (Arka or Yekka leaves) are placed on the body while taking a bath (1 on the head, and 2 each on shoulders, knees, and feet; or then all 7 on the head).

There is a muggu or rangoli symbolising Surya Bhagawan in his Chariot drawn in front of the home.

Prayers include Aditya HrudyamSuryashtakam, and Surya Sahasranamam.

Another tradition is that fresh milk is allowed to boil over and then used to make Bellam Paravannam which is offered as Naivedyam to Surya Bhagavan and then distributed as Prasadam.

Bellam Paravannam
Bellam Paravannam




Bellam Paramannam (Rice and Jaggery Pudding)

Bellam Paramannam - Jaggery and Rice Pudding
Bellam Paramannam

Paramannam literally means the Ultimate Food (Param-Annam) or the food fit for gods. And it truly is.

You can make Paramannam (also called Paravannam) with Bellam (Jaggery or Gur) or with Panchadara (Sugar or Shakkar). Bellam Paramannam is a great favourite with my father and one of the many naivedyams offered during Navaratri.


  1. Rice – 1/2 Cup
  2. Full-fat Milk – 1 Cup
  3. Grated Jaggery – 1/4 Cup
  4. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  5. Cashews – 6 to 8


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly.
  2. To a large vessel, add rice and milk.
  3. Pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles till the rice is well-cooked.
  4. When the pressure cooker has cooled, take the cooked rice out.
  5. Mash the rice lightly with a heavy ladle.
  6. Let the rice cool.
  7. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the ghee.
  8. Split and add the cashew pieces to the ghee.
  9. Fry the cashews till light brown.
  10. Add 1/4 Cup water to the ghee and cashews.
  11. Bring to a boil.
  12. Add the grated jaggery.
  13. Over medium heat, stir the jaggery continuously till it forms a thick syrup.
  14. Turn off the heat and let the jaggery syrup cool.
  15. When both the syrup and the rice are lukewarm, mix them together.
  16. Offer as naivedyam and enjoy as prasadam. 🙂


  • Never add hot milk to jaggery syrup, or milk to hot jaggery syrup. The milk will curdle.
  • The jaggery syrup should be “one string” consistency. To test:
    • Dip a spoon in the jaggery syrup.
    • Place the rounded side of the spoon on a flat plate.
    • As you gently lift the spoon, the syrup should form a thin string.