Tenth Day in the bright fortnight of the month of Pousa (November - December)
The festival is celebrated on the tenth day in the bright fortnight in pousha lunar month. The myth has it that Lord Krishna's son, Shamba, was cursed by a sage and he could get rid of his leprosy. The dreaded disease only by worshipping the Sun God at Arka tirtha, which is located on the Konark beach in Orissa. Women fast and worship Sun at dawn, midday and dusk and offer a variety of rice cakes and other delicacies. A mixed vegetable soup, known as 'Ghadghada' with leaves, tubers, local beans and pulse is a typical delicacy.
Maitreya Bana is recognized with the present site of Konark 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 Konark in 13th century A.D.
Other Legends of Shamba Dasami
This is another variant of the legend about Shamba Dasami. It says that once Narada came to Dwarka. There he found 'Rukmini' the spouse of Krishna to be morose and tearful. On enquiry Rukmini disclosed that she gave birth to a child as good-looking as 'Madana', the Cupid, but he was abducted by a demon and since then there is no end to her plight.
Then Narada consoled and advised her to pray Sun God to get back her child. To arouse belief and strength in her, he narrated another story about the efficacy of such prayer. This tale has it that there was a Brahmin in "Arka
Kshetra" (Konark) named 'Goutama'. He had three beautiful sons by his wife 'Padmamukhi'.
To his ill luck all of them died one by one. His grief-stricken wife attempted to commit suicide. The Brahmin forbade her and then persuaded her to pray Sun God. She sat in deep penance praying the God. Being moved by her devotion and, prayer the Sun God fulfilled her desire and she was again blessed with children.
This festival is mostly observed by the elderly women who propitiate the Sun God to keep their children free from all diseases. Those who are childless also pray for children.
On this day, the Sun God is invoked thrice, once in the morning, then at mid-day and lastly in the evening, before the sunset.