Everything You Need to Know About Sheetala Saptami

Udaipur is known for its culture and diversity. And festivals are the mirror of the cultures. Big or small, the enthusiasm with which we celebrate every occasion is what makes it special.

The small rituals during the festivals keep us connected with our traditions and create a sense of belongingness. Every household has its own little traditions which they perform with friends or family. In some families, it is celebrated on Ashtami.

Every festival comes with new learnings and beginnings. One such festival is Sheetala Saptami. Like every other festival in the city, Sheetala Saptami also revolves around interesting stories recounting the history behind various festival rituals.

It is celebrated in honour of Sheetala Mata, this Goddess is an incarnation of the feminine power. People worship Sheetala Mata to protect themselves, their family and friends from getting inflicted from diseases like smallpox and chickenpox.

When is it celebrated?

It is observed on the ‘Ashtami’ of the Krishna Paksha during the Hindu month of ‘Chaitra’. It corresponds to the month of mid-March to April. Sheetala Saptami generally comes after 8 days of the Holi Festival. But in some communities, it is celebrated on the first Thursday or Monday that comes after Holi.


As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Sheetala is an incarnation of Goddess Durga and Maa Parvati. The goddess is seated on a donkey and has been shown as holding neem leaves, broom, soup and a pot. Her grandeur has been mentioned in several religious stories.

The benefit of worshipping goddess Sheetala has been explained in various details. It might not be known to many that the Sheetala Mata story was written by Lord Shiva and also known as Sheetalashtak.


The festival starts with getting up early before sunrise and taking a bath. Then pay a visit to Sheetala Devi Temple and offer prayers with ‘Haldi’ and ‘Bajra’. After performing the rituals, listen to the Vrat Katha. And then offer other essential offerings like curd to the goddess. After offering food to the deity, the rest of the food is eaten all day long as prasad. In some parts of the country, people also shave their heads to please the Goddess.

We all will be remembering this festival as the day of eating cold food. As per the traditions, we do not light fire for cooking. Therefore, we prepare the food a day in advance and consume the food the next day. This would be the only festival where cold food is offered to Goddess Sheetala.

On this day simple, non-spicy food is made. It is said that eating normal cold food acts as a relaxant to the digestive system. As Sheetal means cold, so Sheetala Mata vrat incorporates cold food, so that our stomach is not aggravated, and gets food that is easy to digest.

Story of Sheetala Mata

It is believed that a woman lived in a village. The woman was a devotee of Sheetala Mata and also kept her fast. Other people of the village didn’t keep the fast of Sheetala Mata and neither did they have any faith.

A sudden fire occurred in the village, everyone’s huts were burnt except the devotee of Sheetala Mata. When the reason came to know, everyone understood that this happened because of worshipping Sheetala Mata. Since then people started worshipping Sheetala Mata.

We are living in a world where every day a new disease is taking birth and some country is starting a war. In these times we need to have a belief and a sense of unity that will keep us going on.

These festivals are our happy distractions from all these things which are going on in this world. It gives us peace and creates a sense of motivation amongst us.

As we go deep into every festival’s origin there are big learnings hidden in them. This festival marks the safety of our people. We all always pray for our and our family’s safety. And this festival is nothing but praying for safety.

Written by- Vaishali Jain


Do you know why we celebrate Sheetala Saptami?

Sheetala Saptami, which falls on Krishna Paksha Saptami of the Chaitra month in the Hindu Calendar, is a Hindu festival that occurs seven days after Holi. A festival celebrated in northern India celebrates Goddess Shakti’s feminine power and incarnation, Goddess Sheetala. Different cultures celebrate either Sheetala Saptami (regionally called Sheetala Satam) or Sheetala Ashtami (also known as Basoda in some regions and cultures), which falls either seven days after Holi (Saptami) or eight days after Holi (Ashtami). While different cultures celebrate it differently, Udaipur majorly celebrates Sheetla Saptami. Some of us might not be aware of the history or significance behind celebrating Sheetala Saptami. Are you also wondering about the reason behind eating cold food on this day? Let’s find out why we celebrate Sheetala Saptami!

Significance and History behind Sheetala Saptami

According to mythology, Maa Sheetala is an embodiment of Goddess Parvati, who manifested herself during the Gods’ sacramental fire ritual (Havan). The Goddess is said to have four hands, one of which holds a dustpan and the other a broom, dawning neem leaves and a water pitcher. Her vehicle is a donkey. Although the first two reflect cleanliness, the pitcher emphasizes water quality for life on Earth, and neem is associated with medicinal properties. During the Havan, a demon known as Jwarasura (literal meaning: Fever-demon) arose from the earth after a bead of Lord Shiva’s sweat dropped to the ground. Jwarasura is regarded as the fever-deity, who transmitted diseases around the world and did damage to mankind. Later on, Goddess Sheetala came to the rescue to cure the illness.

Sheetala Saptami puja is done to ask the Goddess to shield our families and us from heat-related illnesses. It is generally accepted that Goddess Sheetala helps in the prevention of diseases such as chickenpox, smallpox, measles, and other infectious diseases. This is also the reason why on this day, devotees refrain from cooking or consuming hot foods and instead consume foods that have been prepared a day before. The prayer or “pooja”, as we call it, is completed by doing aarti of the goddess.

How is Sheetala Saptami Celebrated in Udaipur?

Maa Sheetla is discussed in detail in Skanda Purana as a goddess who has the powers to overcome infectious diseases. The festival is rather an important one in Udaipur, and people celebrate the same with utmost devotion. Food items such as Oliya, Aaloo ki Sabzi, Panchkuta (ker sangari), puri, bhindi, amchur, etc., are made a day before the festival. 

There is a Sheetala Mata Temple outside City Palace’s gate near Samor Bag in Udaipur, where most of the people go to worship the goddess on this day. The devotees get up early on Sheetala Saptami, usually before sunrise, worship the goddess, offer bhog and then eat the special dish of the day, Oliya, which is a traditional rice pudding made of curd, sugar and rice.

Throughout the day, the devotees avoid any freshly cooked food or hot/warm food items and do not light up stoves in the kitchen for the day.

As we know it, most of the festivals in India are associated with some myths and superstitions. Sheetala Saptami is also attached to certain myths when it comes to not following the tradition of eating cold food. People say that by defying the tradition or not following the festival’s story, one may suffer from diseases such as chickenpox, smallpox, measles, or other skin diseases.

Since Sheetala Saptami comes during the onset of summers, and in many ways, marks the start of summer season/transition from spring to summer when a country like India experiences high heat, foods condensed with heat and spices just aggravate the body’s condition and make digestion more difficult. Sheetal means cool or cold in Hindi, implying that our physical and mental condition should be peaceful this season. As a consequence, people agree that basic food can be consumed for at least one day.

Sheetala Saptami’s importance is still high today, as people have found that the belief is also scientifically right. The doctors have also quoted that this festival is good for your whole body since the fruit dishes and cold sweets are full of nutrients that increase your immunity.

Presenting her views on Sheetala Saptami being healthy for mind, body, and soul, expert dietician Shalini Mathur says, “Adding coconut, curd and dry fruits shakes fruit chat into the Stale food prasad makes it nutritious, healthy and also improves your digestion.


The heritage and culture seem nostalgic and interesting, right? Read about more festivals, and occasions celebrated in Udaipur

UdaipurBlog wishes you a very happy Sheetala Saptami!