Rituals mark Chhath celebrations

A devotee worships the Sun god in the waters of river Ghaghar during the ‘Chhath Puja’ festival in Panchkula on Sunday. Reuters

Clad in yellow sarees with vermilion mark from their forehead to their noses, women congregated in the banks of Ganga in the wee hours of the morning, taking a holy dip with ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) in their hands as a mark of respect to Sun god. 

A similar ritual was performed on Saturday evening, with relatives joining them.
As Ganga started to flow at dangerously higher levels in the last few days, authorities declared 49 out of 97 ghats in Patna unsafe. This prompted many to set up make-shift ponds on terrace at home and perform the ritual.

Leader of the opposition and former chief minister Rabri Devi performed Chhath at a specially-constructed, 20 ft long-50 ft wide-swimming pool at her residence in 10, Circular Road. The pool was decorated with flowers and light for the occasion.  
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was joined by his sister and other relatives at his official residence -1, Aney Marg- to offer ‘arghya’.

The chief minister later offered ‘prasad’ personally to the visitors. LJP President Ram Vilas Paswan joined his ‘samdhin’ (daughter’s mother-in-law) and Congress MLA Jyoti to celebrate Chhath in Patna. Accompanied by his wife Reena Paswan, he also visited Rabri’s residence to receive ‘prasad’.

Facilities at various jails were made to allow inmates to offer ‘arghya’ on the occasion. Seventy-five women and 60 men from Khudi Ram Bose Memorial Central Jail in Muzaffarpur celebrated Chhath, while authorities at Hajipur Jail had constructed concrete ponds inside the premises separately for its 60 male and female prisoners to offer arghya.  

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