The festival of nature worship, happiness and good luck, Chhath Puja saw a wave of faith lashing on riverbanks across the country with the arghya (offering) to the setting sun this evening. The devotees who started the fast since last evening completed on Saturday the first round of Chhath with prayers to the setting sun with full fervour.
Earlier, State and civic administrations made adequate arrangements along the banks of rivers for paying obeisance to Chhathi Maiya in Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad and all towns and cities where the people of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand make a sizeable section of the population. Preparations for the Chhath Puja had been going on for several days even as many headed for their native places to observe the occasion with their families. The Indian Railways had to deal with an increased demand for tickets and seat reservation and yet not all devotees could be served.
The Chhath Puja
2 November, Saturday, the third day: Sandhya arghya, sunrise at 6:33 AM, sunset at 5:35 PM
3 November, Sunday, the fourth day: Usha arghya, the day of paran, sunrise at 6:34 AM, sunset at 5:35 PM
A devotee uses a copper vessel containing milk and water from the Ganga to offer arghya to the sun god.
While offering argya to the sun, the devotee chants
ॐ सूर्यदेवं नमस्ते स्तु गृहाणं करूणाकरं |Om Suryadevam namaste stu grihāNam karuNākaram/ arghyam cha phalamsanyuktagandhamālyakshtaiyutam
अर्घ्यं च फलंसंयुक्तगन्धमाल्याक्षतैयुतम् ||
Those who find the above difficult may chant “Om Suryaya Namah” or “Om Ghrinim Suryaya Namah, Om Ghrinim Suryah, Adityah, Om Hrim Hrim Suryaya, sahasrakirnaya manovanchhita phalam dehi, dehi swaha“.
The most important prasāda of Chhath Puja is believed to be thekua, which is prepared from rice flour and dry fruits. Before the evening arghya, everyone must prepare the prasāda, a dish of thekua in their homes. Reach the ghat fully prepared.
Today, on the day of offering puja to Chhathi Maiya, all the people, after wearing new clothes, prepare chhabuā (or daliā, generally a basket made of bamboo or cane) from their homes after preparing the prasāda that contains the offerings and worship material for Chhathi Maiya. The head of the household carries the chhabuā. He is followed by the mother or wife observing the nirjala fast (even drinking water is not permitted in this fast).
The fast will be completed on Sunday with the offering of arghya to the rising sun.
After waiting for the sun to rise and worshipping the sun god the whole night, arghya will be offered to the rising sun in the morning tomorrow and then the fast can be ended.