Ratha Sapthami, or Rath Saptami, is an important annual festival held at Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple. The most important event on the day is the procession of Lord Venkateswara (Malayappaswamy) and his consorts atop seven Vahanams (vehicles).
Tirumala Tirupati Temple scriptures indicated that Ratha Sapthami (also written as Radhasapthami) is being organized from 1565. On the day, Lord Ventateswara along with His consorts Sri Devi and Bhudevi are taken on a procession around four mada streets atop seven vahanams – Suryaprabha Vahanam, Chinnasesha Vahanam, Garuda Vahanam, Hanumantha Vahanam, Kalpavruksha Vahanam, Sarvabhoopala Vahanam, Chandraprabha Vahanam besides Chakrasnanam.
The uniqueness of the festival lies in the fact that devotees can view and get the blessing of Balaji atop different Vahanams. Even during the famous Brahmotsavams, Lord Balaji mounts only on two Vahanams (vehicles). But on the Ratha Sapthami day, devotees are blessed by the processional deities of Lord Venkateswara, Sri Devi and Bhudevi from sunrise to sunset on seven different Vahanams.
Ratha Sapthami is observed throughout India in different names. It is essentially the worship of Lord Surya (the sun god). The rituals vary from region to region.
Significance of Ratha Saptami and how it is observed in various parts of India.