Makar Sankranti – a new beginning, a new start! A multifaceted popular Hindu festival, be it from the harvest point of view or due to celestial changes taking place on this day, people from different parts of the country celebrate it in their own special way. The state of Tamil Nadu refers to Sankranthi as Pongal, while Gujarat and Rajasthan see it as Uttarayana. Northern states of Haryana and Punjab call it the Maghi festival while in West Bengal, people celebrate it as Poush Sankranti.
As per legendary Hindu mythology, it is said that during Makar Sankranti, the Sun God Lord Surya, makes a visit to his son, Shani Dev on this specific day.
Besides religious connotations, it is popular in in Maharashtra and Gujarat as kite-flying festival day.
From the celestial point of view, the sun takes off from Tropic of Cancer, moving in a northward direction towards Makar or Capricorn.
Punya kaal is a sacred time relating to the time between Makar Sankranthi and the 40 Ghatis. Devotees fervently worship the Sun God during Punya Kaal.
When Makar Sankranti occurs post-sunset, then all the holy and auspicious worship is done only following day post-sunrise during the day time.
There are two kinds of Muhartams with regard to Sankranti kaal, Punya Kaal Muhurta and Mahapunya Kaal Muhurta. Punya kaal , also referred to as Sankranthi Muhurta, is a time designated between Makar Sankranti and the 40 Ghatis calculated from the moment of Makar Sankranti. In accordance with the holy scriptures, in the event of Sankranti taking place post-sunset on the previous day, then the most auspicious duration for consideration could the five Ghatis duration after sunrise the next day. Mahapunya Kaal Muhurta is considered more auspicious than Punya Kaal and is one ghati duration if Sankranti is occurring during the same day in the daytime.
Please do note that for Makar Sankranti, the Punya Kaal duration changes based on the location. Therefore, identifying the location first to get the exact muhurat timing for Sankranti is important.