Prez Murmu, PM Modi greet devotees as North India celebrates Chhath
While Delhi is primed for the occasion, adequate security arrangements have made in Gurugram and Jharkhand to avoid any untoward incident during the celebration
As the four-day Chhath Puja began on Friday (November 17), President Droupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (November 19) extended greetings to people.
During the festival, devotees fast and gather on the banks of rivers and ponds to offer prayers to the Sun God. Chhath is celebrated largely in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, called Poorvanchalis in Delhi. Worshippers, both men and women, fast and pay obeisance to the deity on the last two days, beginning with 'nahai-khai' in which devotees usually bathe at the ghats and perform Chhath rituals.
On Saturday (November 18), devotees observed 'kharna' and cooked 'kheer' which is relished by the family members and others as 'prasad'. They will offer evening 'arghya' (prayers) to the Sun God on Sunday evening (November 19).
“This festival related to nature inspires us to promote environmental protection. Come, on this auspicious occasion, let us resolve to move forward by balancing development and environment,” President Murmu said in a post on X.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, PM Modi extended greetings to devotees. “May the worship of Sun God infuse new energy and new enthusiasm in everyone's life. Jai Chhathi Maiyya," Modi said in his message.
Vice President Dhankhar said the festival is a symbol of the eternal values of Indian culture and its unbreakable connection with nature.
It's pouring greetings
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP supremo Mayawati and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, among others, also extended greetings to devotees.
“Hearty congratulations and best wishes to all the devotees and people of the state on the great festival of Sun worship and folk faith 'Chhath'! It is (my) wish that the entire world should be illuminated with the light of happiness, prosperity and good fortune with the holy blessings of Lord Bhaskar and Chhathi Maiya. Jai Chhathi Maiya!,” CM Adityanath said in a post on X.
His cabinet colleagues Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak also extended greetings to the people of the state.
Former chief minister and BSP leader Mayawati, while wishing the people on Chhath Puja said she prays to nature that she fulfils everyone's wishes for a better life. “Hearty congratulations and best wishes to the countrymen on Chhath Puja/festival. On this occasion, we pray to nature that she fulfills everyone's wishes for a better life,” she wrote in a post on X.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wished happiness to devotees on the occasion. “Best wishes to all of you on Chhath Puja, the great festival of worshipping Lord Surya and faith. May Chhathi Maiya keep you all healthy, happy, prosperous and fulfill all your wishes,” Kejriwal said in a post on X in Hindi.
Delhi primed for the occasion
Meanwhile, preparations in Delhi, where a sizeable population of migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is settled, have been made for the occasion.
From the banks of Yamuna to temporary ghats and rooftop tubs, devotees across Delhi are set to offer evening prayers to the Sun God as part of Chhath festivities on Sunday evening (November 19).
Delhi Revenue Minister Atishi on Saturday (November 18) said the government has built over 1,000 Chhath ghats across Delhi so that anyone in the city can celebrate the festival.
In addition, the government has constructed eight artificial ponds at the DDA ground in Mayur Vihar Phase-3, where thousands of devotees can perform their Chhath rituals together. Most of the preparations at this ghat have been completed, officials said. “Chhath is a significant festival for the people of Delhi and our people from the Purvanchal region. Therefore, the city government organises a grand celebration for Chhath every year,” the revenue minister said.
Officials said temporary trenches have been dug up in Sonia Vihar, too, where a number of people hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh reside.
“Two trenches have been dug and it has been covered with double-layer plastic sheets,” said Ramesh Singh, an official of the Irrigation and Flood Control department. “The Delhi Jal Board is actively working to fill the makeshift ghats with water, the MCD has helped clean the area, and all the other departments are working effectively for the smooth conduct of Chhath festivities,” Singh added.
Devotees chip in with enthusiasm
Rupesh Kumar, 20, a resident of Sonia Vihar and a Chhath devotee, said, “We have been cleaning this place for the past 15 days and making arrangements for our family members who will be performing rituals here."
Narayan Kumar, 27, another resident of the area, said, “Lights and tents have been installed by authorities and the area looks cleaner than before.” Nineteen-year-old Shivam Rai said just after the puja rituals at the ghat, prasad is distributed among believers and people of all religions.
Laxmi Verma, another devotee, said, “Every year, we eagerly wait for this festival and offer evening 'arghya' to 'Chhathi Maiyya'".
In other parts of Delhi such as Pitampura and Kailash Hills, which are located far away from ghats, people have made arrangements on their terraces by filling water in big containers and tubs and decorating them.
Gurugram deploys more than 600 police personnel
The district administration of neighbouring Gurugram has allocated 54 sites for Chhath Puja. The administration has also deployed more than 600 police personnel at these places till Monday (November 20) for the safety of devotees.
Chhath Puja will be organised at nine places in the east police zone, 26 places in the west zone, eight places in the south zone and 11 places in the Manesar zone, according to the police.
Law and order will not be allowed to get affected in any way during Chhath Puja, Gurugram Police Commissioner Vikas Kumar Arora said. Police personnel in plain clothes have also been deployed.
Jharkhand does a cleaning act for Chhath
Major water bodies, including ponds, dams and reservoirs, have been cleaned and decorated with lights for Chhath Puja in Jharkhand. The water bodies have also been barricaded for the first day 'Arghya' to Sun God on Sunday evening, an official said.
In order to ensure a safe and peaceful Chhath Puja celebration, various district administrations have deputed additional security forces and deployed NDRF teams in vulnerable water bodies of Ranchi and Deoghar districts. “Three NDRF teams have been deployed in Ranchi's Kanke Dam, Bada Talab and Dhurwa Dam. One team has been deployed at Deoghar,” NDRF inspector Ravi Kant said.
Drones, CCTV cameras and motorcycle squads would also keep an eye to avoid any untoward incidents during the celebration of the festival, a senior police officer said.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Friday (November 17) took stock of the preparations in Ranchi. Soren visited two major water bodies of the city — Kanke Dam and Hatnia Pond — and reviewed the status of cleanliness, safety, security and other arrangements.
The devotees will offer evening 'arghya' (prayers) to the Sun God on Sunday (November 19). The festival will end on Monday (November 20) with devotees offering morning 'arghya' to the rising Sun.
(With agency inputs)