Chhath Fever Hits Crescendo in Patna as All Roads Led to the Ganga
Chhath Puja is being celebrated on a grand scale in Bihar.
All roads in Patna led to the mighty Ganga on Thursday, 26 October, as lakhs of devotees made a beeline to the myriad ghats, all sparkling clean and decked up, to take part in Chhath puja festivities.
Patna roads, otherwise notorious for huge traffic snarls, looked different, as cars, bikes, and other modes of transport gave way to devotees walking on foot and carrying wicker baskets with offerings to be made to the Sun God.
The fervour that started with ‘Nahai Khai’ on Tuesday, followed by ‘Kharna’ on Wednesday, hit a crescendo on Thursday as Chhath vratees, who observe a rigorous 36-hour fast, made their journey to the ghats.
The festivities will conclude on Friday, 27 October, when the devotees re-converge on the banks of the Ganga, standing in waist-deep water, and offer ‘Arghya’ to the rising sun.
The Chhath vratees break their fast after that, consuming prasad offered to Chhathi Maiya.
The vratees follow a number of practices for the four-day period, including complete abstinence from food containing onions and garlic, meat, tobacco, and other intoxicants.
People often have a tough time preventing children from touching the delicious and aromatically tempting thekuas and other fruits until the ‘Arghya’ is offered to the rising sun.
Politicians, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, use the occasion as a public relation exercise by inviting people to partake at the ‘kharna prasad’ on the eve of obeisance to the setting sun.
Kumar, who is known to tour ghats in the evening during the ‘Arghya’ days, has chosen the Nasriganj ghat at Danapur this year. At the ‘kharna prasad’ distribution, organised at his official residence on Wednesday, 25 October, Kumar lauded the “amazing self-discipline and mankind’s connect with nature” that is displayed during Bihar’s most significant religious festival.
Preparations have been underway for the mammoth gathering since last week, when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi separately inspected the ghats in Patna and the satellite township of Danapur.
The Bihar government is treating the festivities as a “state event” and arrangements have been made accordingly, which include barricades at strategic points to avert stampedes and communication systems to disseminate correct information and prevent any rumours that could trigger panic.Sushil Kumar Modi, Deputy CM
Besides, teams of the National Disaster Response Force and its state counterpart, armed with lifejackets and inflatable boats, have been patrolling the ghats to deal with any eventuality.
Water ambulances with doctors and paramedics on board are also patrolling the ghats to deal with any medical emergency that may arise.
(With inputs from PTI)
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