River banks in Jharkhand reserved for Chhath

November 3rd, 2008 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Nov 3 (IANS) Every inch of space on the banks of rivers and ponds in Jharkhand has been booked by devotees ahead of the Chhath puja, when thousands will flock to the water bodies to offer prayers to the sun.The devotees cleaned the ghats (banks of rivers and ponds) and paint their names on the stairs to reserve their place at least four day before the Chhath puja.

This time, the prayers will be held Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. Each devotee will carry a bamboo basket containing fruits, sweets and other ritual offerings on the occasion.

“Due to heavy rush, we start cleaning the ghats four days before the Chhath festival. We paint our names on the stirs so that others do not try to encroach or grab the place,” said devotee V.N. Singh.

“Thousands of people gather at one ghat. It is difficult to get a place to stand. Sometime we form a group of Chhath devotees and reserve one complete stair,” said Alo Dubey.

However, painting your name on a staircase does not ensure that you will get a place on the day of the rituals. Devotees have to keep tight vigil to retain their place at the ghats.

“Two years ago a group of people removed my name from the ghat and put their names. Now we come two to three times in a day to ensure that our reserved place is safe,” said Kishori Singh.

The Chhath festival is unique since it is the only time when the setting sun is worshipped.

Many people have now opted to perform Chhath puja on roofs of their houses by constructing a makeshift water tank. It is purified by adding some water from the Ganges.

“For the last three years we have been performing Chhath puja on the roof of the house. it is difficult to pray at the ghats. At home we can perform the rituals in peace,” said Sumitra Devi.

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