Dakshinayana Punyakalam is the day when sun enters the Karkata Rashi or Karka Rasi (Cancer Zodiac) as per Hindu Astrology. It is also known as Dakshinayanam or Karka Sankraman or Karkataka Sankranti. It marks the beginning of the night of Devas. In Hinduism, a human year is equal to one day of gods and the next 6 months up to Uttarayana is night time of Gods. As per South Indian Hindu Astrology and Panchang, Dakshinayana Punyakalam begins on July 16, 2011.
It must be noted that as per North Indian panchangs and calendars, Dakshinayana begins on June 21, 2011.
In simple terms, Dakshinayana Punyakalam marks the southern transit of the Sun. The Uttarayana period which began on January 14 or 15 ends with Dakshinayana Punyakalam. The Dakshinayanam period will end on Makar Sankranti or Uttarayana day.
Legend has it that Lord Vishnu goes into sleep during the period - the Deva Sayani Ekadasi marks this day. The Chatur Masa is also observed during this period.
Karkataka Sankranti day is chosen by many Hindus to perform Shradh or Pinda Daan for dead relatives and ancestors. In some regions Lord Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped on the day.
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