Swept chhath ghats wear a festive look

Ghats along the Yamuna had never looked so clean, and the usual stench was covered up by the fragrance of sandalwood incense sticks. As thousands of devotees made their way along Vikas Marg to the river carrying offerings for Chhath Puja on Tuesday evening, folk songs paying obeisance to Chhathi Maiya played in the background creating an ambience that had never been seen before.

As soon as the people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who have settled down in the capital, entered the ghats, they looked pleased at the arrangements done by the government, civic bodies and Delhi Police.

Though the women were fasting, their enthusiasm was at a high. They sang bhajans while their family members got busy arranging the bamboo winnows filled with the offerings–including Thekua, banana, coconut, sugarcane and other fruits -by the shore of the Yamuna.

“It feels like we are in our hometown.The arrangements done by the administration are really good and it feels good when your festival is declared a public holiday in another state,“ said Ramesh Singh, a native of Bihar and resident of Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi.

At 4pm on Tuesday , the devotees, mostly women, started congregating at several points along the river to offer Sandhya Argh. Despite Yamuna being one of the most polluted rivers, the devotees didn’t twice before taking a holy dip.“You can pollute the water but not people’s belief,“ said Shanta Devi, one of the devotees.

The first day of Chhath involves Sandhya Argh, the offering made to the sun god during sunset. The next morning involves offering milk and fruits at sunrise. Most people stay at the ghat as devotees starts congregating at the riverbank from 4am. The women stand in the water and pray until the sun rises.After the morning Argh, the women break their 36-hour fast, thus concluding the festival.chhath_puja

There were also a few families celebrating Chhath for the first time in the capital. “We shifted to Delhi this year and decided to celebrate the festival here. The atmosphere is similar to the one that we witness at the banks of Ganga,“ said Vishal Sinha, an IT professional and native of Varanasi.

The pond near India Gate was filled with women carrying colourful bamboo winnows facing the sun offering the Sandhya Argh. Tourists at India Gate were fascinated by the way Chhath Puja was being celebrated and frantically clicked pictures.

The sight was similar across several ghats. At Kalindi Kunj, senior AAP functionary Dhir Singh Bidhuri left no stone unturned in wooing his electorate actively participated in making the arrangements for Chhath Puja.

Arrangements have also been made by RWAs and the municipal corporations for people who do not wish to go to ghats in their colonies. “We have made temporary arrangements in the colonies with the help of RWA members,“ said Harsh Malhotra, mayor of East Corporation.

Source: TOI 18 Nov’2015