Update: Makara Sankranthi – Jan 14/15th 2018

The 2nd week of January is the festival “Makara Sankranthi”. This year it is on 14th, which is a Monday here in USA and Tuesday 15th in India.

P.S: Please check your local calendars and temples to see the exact date.

Makara Sankranthi is a widely celebrated festival in different parts of India.  On this day,  Lord Surya or Sun is worshiped.  It is also celebrated as a harvest festival in many parts of India. On this day, Sun begins his journey to the Northern Hemisphere, most commonly called as Uttharayana.  As with all other festivals, this festival also has many legends, two such commonly told legends are:

1. Lord Surya or Sun visits Shani on this day.

2. Bheeshma Pithamaha, who was able to choose when he will die, chose this day to end his life.

The house is cleaned, and decorated with fresh green mango leaves tied as thorana to the front door. Beautiful, and colorful rangoli is drawn at the front of the house.  After performing the pooja, yellu(Sesame seeds) and Bella(Jaggery) is offered to God. Usually it is prepared by mixing Till, finely chopped Jaggery, roasted groundnuts cut into small peices, with finely chopped dried coconut, and Putani, also called as Hurigadale.

Attached below are the pictures and the steps to making Yellu Bella.


I use the following proportion to prepare the yellu:

* 1/2 cup Yellu or Sesame Seeds
* 1 cup Groundnuts or peanuts ( Fried, skin removed and cut into half)
* 1 cup Dhalia or hurigadale
* 1 cup finely chopped dry coconut
* 1 cup Jaggery, finely chopped

Usually the Sesame seeds are cleaned, washed and dried. Later, they are fried. I skip this step, and just fry the Sesame seeds for a few minutes.

Next, grate the black portion of the dry coconut. Chop them into squares as shown in the above picture. Chop the Jaggery also and make sure they are dry. My mom used to keep it in the sun for a few days.

Mix, all the ingredients together. Distribute to your family and friends. If all the ingredients are dry, it will stay for months.

Here is the recipe for Yellu Unde/Burfi:


  1. Sesame Seeds/Yellu – 1 cup
  2. Peanuts – 1 cup
  3. Dhalia – 1 cup
  4. Jaggery – 2cups
  5. Grated Coconut – 2 tsp
  6. 7-8 cardamom – ground finely
  7. 2 tsp Oil or Ghee(I never use Ghee)


  • Fry the Sesame seeds for 4-5 minutes. Take out in a plate.
  • In a pan, heat oil or ghee. Now add the jaggery. Add just enough water so that the Jaggery dissolves.
  • Keep stirring for almost 9-10 minutes until the jaggery starts leaving the sides.
  • Next, add peanuts, sesame seeds, dhalia and mix well. Let it continue on the stove top for another 3-4 minutes. Add in the cardamom as well.
  • Turn off the stove. Grease a tray, and pour the mixture. Let it cool a little bit.
  • Cut squares. ANd the left over, was formed to a round shape.
  • Finally garnish with grated coconut.

I called it Yellu Burfi, and everyone called it Sesame Squares.

Most dishes prepared during this day are made out of Yellu or Sesame seeds and Rice. It is also tradition to prepare Sweet and Khara Pongal during this festival. The recipes are posted here in the blog and are attached below for your convenience:

If you wish to cook elaborate dishes during Sankranthi, many authentic recipes are posted here:

And you can find various Rangoli designs here:

24 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by shashikala on January 14, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Dear Meera
    Happy sankranthi to you and your family . Very nice to see the pictures and i wonder
    from where you get the time to do all these things . May Rayaru give good spirit and strength to do all these good things to enlighten all of us.
    Shashikala U.L


  2. please let me know where I can purchase designed dry coconuts and sakkire atchus for marriage of my son.


  3. Madam Meera Subba Rao, Namaskaara,

    I introduce myself as bhargavasarma (astro name) a small time blogger. Just happened to come across your site; really appreciate the good work you are doing; your passion and devotion towards Sri Raayaru; propagating bhakti towards Mantralaya Guru Saarvabhouma Sri Raaghavendra Swamy.

    With your permission, I just wanted to make a small correction in the captioned post on Makara Sankranthi. Bheeshmaachaarya had his niryaana on the lunar day of Ashtami (Bheeshmaashtami) in the lunar month Maagha maasam, not on the day of Makara Sankramana. You may like to visit an exclusive post in this regard published in my blog on Bheeshmaashtami from the link given below…


    Thanks and regards

    nirikhi krishna bhagavan


  4. Posted by Bhavana on January 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Wish you all a very happy Sankranthi festival.


  5. Posted by Shanthi sethuraman on January 11, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Happy Pongal!!!!!


  6. Posted by vidyavenu on January 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Very happy new year


  7. Posted by madhavi on January 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    hi meera,
    we wish you a happy and prosperous new year.


  8. Posted by Kavita on January 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Wishing you and your family also a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!


  9. meera ji,

    can you give the recipe for the sweet shown in the last photo below rangoli designs word….


  10. Posted by Sanjana on January 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Hello Meera avare …
    i love your blog . its a lifesaver for me . Have been following your blog from past 3 years ,great job . i am Madhwa brahmin from Bangalore and have been in US since i got married .i am now expecting our bundle of joy soon , and am looking for a name ,i would like an authentic Madhwa name ….can you please come with some suggestions , its a baby girl. Your help will be much appreciated .
    Thanks and Good luck …


  11. Please visit Chinmaya mission site and also

    http://pnramachandran.blogspot.com and


    Best wishes
    P N Ramachandran


  12. Posted by shilpa on January 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Dear Meera mam,

    Is there any site/pdf/handbook of simple slokas to teach our kids?


  13. Posted by Mala on January 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    In Madwa households is “hannu eriyodu” – puttuing small fruits on kids head done on Rathasapthami?


    • Posted by meeraghu on January 14, 2012 at 10:28 am

      Yes, Mala. It is done on Rathasapthami day.


      • Posted by Saradha Raghavendra on January 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        Hello Meera,

        Thank you for the awesome blog,can you explain in detail how to do the Hanna uriyadhu to be done,I want to that for my son .


      • Posted by meeraghu on January 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        What is that Hanna Uriyadhu, Saradha?

      • Posted by saradha on January 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

        Sorry Meera,I suppose about to ask about ” BORE HERIYADHU ” which is supposed to happen today ,ie next day after Makara sankaranthi “,


  14. Its very nice articles, I got more information about “Makara Sankrati” and receipie of yellu unde also, thank you so much,,,,,,,,,,,
    I will try this yellu unde receipie on 14th in my home,


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