Alok Mishra

Patna: Hundreds of Chhath vratees (devotees) took holy dip in rivers Ganga, Sone, Punpun and ponds in their localities in Patna district on Friday as the four-day Chhath Puja started with `nahai khai’ today. Chhath is celebrated six days after Diwali. It is dedicated to the Sun God and is one of Bihar’s most popular festivals. Sweet melodious songs of Chhath—“kelwa je phare le ghawad se, upar sugwa merarai,” “Uga ye suraj mal, argya ke ber ayal,” rent the atmosphere of the state capital.

The Puja starts with ‘nahai-khai’ with devotees taking a holy bath and then prepare traditional meal of arwa chawal (boiled rice) and pumpkin. Hundreds of devotees gathered at different ghats of Ganga at Collectorate Ghat, Gandhi Ghat, Digha Ghat, Nariyal Ghat, Bhadra Ghat,  City Court Ghat and Gai Ghat to take a holy dip and collect holy Ganga water.

Even as the woman devotees were engaged in their works, the male members went on purchasing spree at several makeshift stalls selling fruits including bananas, apple, water fruit (panifal singhara), ginger, coconut, nimbu (gagar) and gourd in different localities of the state capital including GPO roundabout, Chitkohra, Mussalahpur Bazaar Samiti, Digha Haat and Danapur. They also purchased daura, soop, earthen chulha, woods of mango tree and other materials from there. Several markets have come up in Nehru Nagar, Gosain Tola, Hariya Bazaar, Pethia Bazaar and Sadar Bazaar (Danapur), Postal Park and Chiraiyatand localities. The Patna district administration has made elaborate arrangements at different ghats.  Many devotees will offer Arghya from the rooftops of their houses or apartments.

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