According to legend, Samba, son of Lord Krishna, was afflicted by leprosy and was cured by the Sun God Surya after 12 years of penance near Konark. On this day, mothers pray to Surya for the health of their children.
On the day of Samba Dashami, the women in the family wake before sunrise. After bathing they prepare dishes such as Khichdi, Oriya Puli, and Ghadghadia Tarkari (a curry), and offer them to the Sun God at sunrise. Each prepared food item is offered in the name of each family member. Once the food items have been offered to the Surya, the women prepare a set of cake-like dishes called Pitha, which include Manda Pitha, Kakara Pitha, Arisha Pitha, BiriLaddoo, Makar Chaula,Chhenaguda, Dhanu Muaan, Khiri, Rasagola, Jhilli, Chhenagaja, and Sweet Curd.
At noon, a bowl of turmeric water with betel in it is taken to ‘chaunra mula’ (a small temple-like structure with a Tulsi plant overhead). All the cooked food is served on plates. The women in the family view the Sun God through the bowl of turmeric water and offer all the dishes to the Sun God. They read the legend of ‘Samba Dasami Brata Katha’ and pray for the well-being of all family members.
In the evening, another Puja is observed as a part of the Samba Dasami ritual. This is ‘Mahakala Puja', in which special Budha Chakuli is offered to Yama.