New Delhi, November 10 (PTI): A burst of religious fervour was let loose in the Bihar capital on the occasion of Chhath festival on Wednesday as people turned up at the ghats of the Ganges in large numbers, resolute in their faith to leave behind the long shadow cast by the COVID 19 pandemic.
All roads in the city seemed to be leading to the holy river as the “vratees” – devotees undertaking a gruelling 36 hours long fast – marched several miles on foot, holding atop their heads wicker baskets heavy with offerings to be made to the “Astachal gami surya” (the sun god at the time of sunset).
Vehicular traffic made way for the teeming pedestrians on the streets which were all sparkling clean, thanks to the spirit of voluntary public service that comes alive in the city on this occasion every year. “It was heartening to see that people have turned out in such large numbers at the ghats.
This familiar sight we could not see last year because of Corona”, said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after he surveyed the ghats from atop a steamer.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by political bigwigs like former union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is the local MP and ex-state minister Nand Kishore Yadav, the local MLA, besides top officials of the state who watched the ghats intently for ordering remedial action wherever any administrative shortcoming was noticed.
Like all previous years of his tenure, Kumar took part in the Chhath festivities at his official residence before embarking on the steamer ride and the “vratees” responded with roars in praise of the sun god and the holy river as he waved at them and greeted them with folded hands.
Deployment of NDRF personnel was in place at all ghats for any eventuality while the police devoted themselves to maintaining a free flow of traffic and preventing stampedes.
Many “vratees” chose not to take the arduous trip to the ghats for the ritual of standing in knee-deep water while making offerings to the sun god. Rooftops of housing complexes were abuzz with activity as vessels of plastic or metal were filled with water to serve as temporary contraptions for making the offering to the sun god.
Arguably the most popular festival among the people of Bihar, Chhath commenced two days ago with “nahay khay” when people take a bath before treating themselves to a feast of pumpkin curry, basmati rice and gram lentil soup.
This was followed a day later by “kharna” when the “vratees” prepare, partake and freely distribute rice pudding prepared with jaggery along with “rotis” smeared with ghee before commencing the fast which is observed without even as much a sip of water for about 36 hours.
The festivities will conclude on Thursday with worships offered to the rising sun after which the “vratees” break their fast with fruits and “thekua” a delicacy prepared with wheat flour and jaggery.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by The Sen Times staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds.