Holy Dip on Makar Sankranti Festival
Makar Sankranti is known as the major festival in terms of religious and spiritual form. As the sun enters the Uttarayan(Tropic of Cancer), this day, the night for Gods is ended and day time is started. The doors of heaven which remain closed for 6 months because of the sun being in Dakhshinayan, are opened on the day of Makar Sankranti. The action of virtue performed today give good result. As described in scriptures, on the day of Makar Sankranti taking bath and giving donation is considered significant.
The meaning of bath is purity and Satvikta(anything that is pure, positive and beneficial). Hence, there is a tradition of talking bath before any auspicious work as per our religious scriptures. Since, this day many religious works are performed, so, the importance of bathing increases. The entry of sun in Capricorn sign increases the entity and property of sun which enters in our body through the sun rays. This supernatural rays increases strength of our body and provide good health. Hence, to gain these rays, to purify our body and soul, there is a custom to take bath in the early morning.
Importance of Punya Kala in Makar Sankranti
According to the Indian religious text, few hours in the morning before sunrise, are considered sacred(Punya kala). Other than Makar Sankrati, on a few festivals like Kartik Purnima, Magh Purnima, Ganga Dussehra, Moni Amawasya, it is extremely fruitful to take bath in Punya Kala. According to the religious scripture, on this day Gods and pilgrimages reside in water. So, on these days, bath should be taken in river or scared pool. It is believed that taking bath before sunrise gives a fruit as like, bathing in milk. Hence, on such occasions for the sake of full purity, taking bath before sunrise is like a tradition, carried on from ancient time.
Significance of Bathing in Ganga Water on Makar Sankranti
Ganga is considered as the river of heaven. This river came to earth by the religious austerity of Bhagirath and river had conjunction with ocean for the reclamation of ocean. The day Ganga dissolved in ocean was the day of Makar Sankranti. Hence, the virtue of bathing in Ganga today is much more than any other day. In Kolkata, lakhs of devotees come to take bath in Ganga sagar. In Allahabad as well, great masses come for bathing and doing charity on the banks of Sangam. One month of Kalpvas(kumbh mela) is also started in Allahabad from the day of Makar Sankranti, which is been followed since the era of Ramayana.
It is believed, at the time of Amrit manthan(churning of Holy water) between God and demon, a few drops of this Holy water fell at the coast of Sangam in Allahabad, banks of Ganga in Haridwar, coast of Godawari in Nasik, coast of Shipra of Ujjan. Because of which these rivers are called scared. At these places people take bath on the day of Makar Sankranti and earn virtue.
If it is not possible for you to go for Ganga Snan(taking bath in Ganga river), then add some Ganga jal in the water of home,used for bathing and chanting the mantra "ॐ ह्रीं गंगाय्ये ॐ ह्रीं स्वाहा" gives you the virtue of Ganga Snan.