Difference Between Uttarayan and Dakshinayan

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 16, 2022, 9:01

Uttarayan is celebrated as one of the main festivals in India. It is a day on the solar calendar that marks the beginning of the Sun's Northward movement. The Hindu calendar suggests there are two Ayans in a year which means the Sun changes its motion two times in the span of 12 months.

The changes in the Sun's motion are known as Uttarayan and Dakshinayan. Both these refer to different periods and have their own significance. These solstices also relate to the changes in season. Check the difference between uttarayan and dakshinayan.

Uttarayan Dakshinayan Overview

The summer solstice is called the Uttarayan which starts on the day of Makar Sankranti which is the 14th of January. This six-month-long period is when the Sun starts travelling towards the North. It symbolises positivity and encourages donations, marriages, charities, and other good occasions.

During the time, days are longer than nights. Rays of Sun are considered to be healthy during Uttarayan; people leverage the benefits of sunbath by flying kites on the festival. The northward movement of the Sun spans three seasons winter, spring, and summer.

Dakshinayan is the opposite of Uttarayan and marks the period when the Sun travels back to Capricorn that is towards the South. The seasons of winter, monsoon, and autumn fall during this period.

It begins at the end of June and the period is associated with negativity which is why auspicious work is generally avoided during Dakshinayan. Nights are longer than days during the period.

The difference between Uttarayan and Dakshinayan lies entirely in their significance to Hindu religious practices. Uttaryan is considered auspicious for enlightenment, whereas Dakshinayan is for purification, with fasting and worshipping given increased prominence during this period.

Even though Uttarayan and Dakshinayan are considered opposite to each other, they each have their own importance and their difference between uttarayan and dakshinayan.

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FAQs on Difference Between Uttarayan and Dakshinayan

Q.1) Why Is Uttarayan Observed On 14th January?

The festival is celebrated on this day every year to mark the end of winter and the onset of the harvest season.

It is a festival dedicated to the Sun; people worship the Sun, prepare delicacies, decorate houses, and fly kites. According to the Hindu calendar, this day suggests the entry of the Sun into the Makar sign.

Q.2) What Is The Significance of Makar Sankranti?

This day is regarded as an auspicious occasion that relates to practices like taking holy dips in sacred rivers like the Ganges, Krishna, Yamuna, and the Godavari in an attempt to get rid of sins. It is believed to be a time to celebrate peace and prosperity.

Q.3) What Do We Call Uttarayan In English?

Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti is called the Festival of Kites in English. The word is actually made of two Sanskrit words ‘Uttar' meaning North and ‘Ayan' which means moving towards. Uttarayan stands for the Sun's motion towards the North.

Q.4) Is Dakshinayan Considered To Be Auspicious?

It is believed that Dakshinayan is the night of Kal Devas. It marks the period of shorter days and longer nights.

Auspicious work is generally discouraged during this period as it is considered to be a time of lust and desire.