Delhi gears up for four-day Chhath Puja, holiday on Oct 26

New Delhi: The Delhi administration and municipal corporations are working to spruce up ghats and clean areas around water bodies to ensure the four-day Chhath Puja that begins tomorrow, goes off smoothly.

The devotees offer 'arghya' to the setting sun and the rising sun in succession on the last two days of Chhath Puja.
The devotees offer ‘arghya’ to the setting sun and the rising sun in succession on the last two days of Chhath Puja.

The city government today said the third day of the festival will be a holiday. Last year too, the city government had declared it a holiday on the occasion.

The festival this year will be held from October 24 to 27. The devotees offer ‘arghya’ to the setting sun and the rising sun in succession on its last two days.

Celebrated from the sixth day (hence called ‘Chhath’) after Diwali, Chhath Puja relives the age-old tradition of paying obeisance to the Sun God, and is observed mainly by the people from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh or Poorvanchalis.

The national capital has a sizeable population of people hailing from the two states, who observe it here on the banks of the Yamuna or at ponds, lakes and canals, in their neighbourhood.

Delhi Development Minister Gopal Rai today visited Shyam Ghat at Jagatpur in the Wazirabad area to take stock of the preparations.

“He (Rai) directed the revenue department to ensure all basic amenities, including tent and medical facilities, lighting arrangements, CCTV, toilet and potable water, at the ghats for the convenience of the devotees,” a government official said.

The minister also directed the Irrigation and Flood Control Department to take all necessary measures to ensure safety of people.

“This year Chhath Puja is being observed at 565 ghats while last year it was organised at 268 ghats. The government had earlier constructed 50 permanent (pucca) ghats for the celebrations,” the official said.

Neema Bhagat, the mayor of east Delhi, a hub of migrant Biharis, today inspected various ghats and took stock of the preparations in the area.

Bhagat, accompanied by senior leaders of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) inspected ghats at Wazirabad, Geeta Ghat, Kishan Kunj, Sonia Vihar and Rajeev Camp.

North Delhi Mayor Preety Agarwal also took stock of the preparations at various places in Rohini, Narela and Mukherjee Nagar zones. Preparations are underway in areas in south Delhi too.

On the first day of the puja — the ritual of ‘Nahai- Khai’ — devotees prepare traditional food after bathing. The second day is ‘Kharna’, during which devotees observe a day- long fast which ends after the sunset.

On the third day, the devotees stand in water and offer ‘Arghya’ to the setting sun. On the final day of the puja, they converge at the river bank before sunrise and offer ‘Arghya’ to the rising sun.

Delhi has around 40 lakh people, hailing from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who have settled in the national capital. All political parties see them as a key electorate, and therefore seek to woo them.