Friday, October 23, 2009

Chhath festival celebrated in Delhi

New Delhi: Delhiites Friday celebrated the Chhath festival with great gusto as many offered prayers on Yamuna river bank early morning, bathed and fasted.

The four-day festival that began Thursday culminates six days after Diwali. Chhath is associated with faith, purity and devotion to the sun god. It is celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh in a big way.

Hundreds of devotees, mainly married women, throng the river banks early in the morning to bathe, before preparing vegetarian food. Traditional songs are also sung in dedication to the sun god.

Rima Aggarwal, a homemaker in the capital, said although she misses celebrating the festival with her family back home in Bihar, she is nevertheless enjoying doing all the rituals here with her neighbours.

"I definitely miss celebrating the festival at home, but then I am observing all the rituals here. Some of my neighbours and I go to the river bank and offer prayers to the sun god," Aggarwal said.

Bhavya Jha, another Delhi resident, said: "I have been fasting for Chhath puja and after sunset, I will have a simple, vegetarian meal consisting mainly of fruits, roti and vegetables."

Congress MP Mahabal Mishra, who hails from Bihar, said elaborate arrangements have been made to help devotees observe the festival without any hassle.

"The Delhi government has made arrangements in 29 ghats on the Yamuna river bank for more than 15 lakh devotees who are observing Chhath. There are tents being put up, drinking water supplied and lights put up for the puja after sunset," Mishra told IANS.

"The government has also made necessary security arrangement. Besides this, there are around 2,000 Chhath puja committees who are also making arrangements for the devotees," he added.

S.K. Sharma, additional district magistrate of Seelampur, said: "We are expecting large number of people to come to Yamuna Ghats for Chhath puja. All arrangements have been done for people to conveniently perform the puja. Special security measures have been put in place for Saturday's function."

J.P. Aggarwal, MP of northeast Delhi, added: "I have been inspecting the arrangements for the Chhath puja and have also suggested some changes like construction of barricades and cleanliness at ghats."
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