24 Oct : “Chhath Puja”, the biggest festival of the Poorvanchali is being celebrated on Saturday with traditional enthusiasm and fervour as the devotees go to a nearby river or pond to offer prayers to the setting sun in the evening.
The festival will culminate at Sunday dawn, after devotees offer Araghya to the rising Sun on the banks of rivers.
Elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure a trouble free congregation at all the ghats for the two day Chhath Puja.
A main festival in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, Chhath denotes the number six and thus the 4-day event begins on the sixth day of Kartik (October-November).
A festival of truth, non-violence, forgiveness and compassion, it is dedicated to Lord Surya (the Sun God), Agni (the Fire God) and Kartikeya.
Chhath is the only time when the setting sun as opposed to its rising is celebrated for its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death.
People fast for the whole day and in the evening they offer Chhath Sandhya Arghya to the setting Sun by standing in knee-deep water.A million-lit lamps with thousands hands offering Arghya makes it a delightful sight.
In the evening, Agni Puja is performed at home in an area cordoned off by four sugarcane sticks. Kheer, sweets and fruits are offered to deities and then the entire family shares it.
Chhath also connects to the folk and rural roots of worshippers. The folk songs sung on the eve of Chhath are mainly in Maithili, Magadhi and Bhojpuri dialects that mirror the culture and social mores of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and the terai regions.
According to Hindu mythology, Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas has a great power to cure any type of disease, including leprosy. She used to worship the Sun with utmost devotion. As a commemoration of Draupadi, it is performed in the form of Chhat puja.
Chhath puja to be celebrated across Capital
The Chhath Puja is being celebrated with religious fervor all over the National Capital and will be concluded with the holy dip at various puja sites.
The people would assemble in large numbers at the various Chhath Puja sites, mainly along the Yamuna river, which would conclude on the morning of 25th October.
Since the devotees would be arriving in rickshaws, tempos, cycles, trucks and buses, Delhi Police has pleaded office goers and general commuters not to take the puja routes, so that no inconvenience is caused to the people.
Also, Police has asked people to take maximum use of Delhi metro and avoid the routes restricted for the movement of commercial vehicles.
Police has made adequate arrangements to ensure smooth flow of traffic.Some of the routes to be avoided are Purvi Ghat, Wazirabad; Kalandi Kunj, Yamuna; Bhalasva Lake; Jai Vihar, Nangloi; DDA Park Sector-10 Narela.
Special trains during Chhat festival
The Northern Railway will run a weekly Shatabdi special train between New Delhi and Gwalior, a weekly special between Delhi Jn and Gaya and a special train between Muzaffarpur and Mumbai Central.
The special Shatabdi will have services from New Delhi and Gwalior on every Sunday from 25th October to 27th December.In view of the Chhat festival, a weekly special will run between Delhi Jn and Gaya between 23rd and 30th October.
A Chhat puja special will also run between Muzaffarpur and Mumbai Central from 26th October.