River banks, ponds decorated for Chhath

Kathmandu, November 5

All preparations for the celebration of Chhath in Kathmandu Valley are over, with special platforms for worship built on the banks of various rivers, especially the Bagmati River, and ponds, and the areas decked up with colourful lights.

Chhath, the greatest festival of the Mithila community, will be celebrated tomorrow by offering prayers to the setting sun and wishing for happiness, well-being, good health and prosperity. Tens of thousands of Hindu devotees from the Tarai and the hills alike throng river banks and ponds to perform Chhath rituals every year.

Ponds and river banks at Kamal Pokhari, Gaurighat, Kalimati, Balkhu, Kupandole, Baneshwor, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur will witness huge crowds of devotees. However, Chhath ceremonies will not take place in Ranipokhari this year as reconstruction works of the Bal Gopaleshwor temple situated in the middle of the pond and damaged in last year’s earthquakes is ongoing. Authorities have drained the pond for its reconstruction.

Tthe festival lasts four days. The first day of the celebration Naha Kha’, which literally means ‘bathe and eat’, was observed yesterday, when devotees took holy dips in various water bodies, ate one meal, and cleaned their houses.

Kharna, the second day of the festival, was observed today. On this day, women take a holy bath, observe a daylong fast, and worship the sun.

Devotees break fast with milk, sweets, rice pudding, and fruits with other members of the family. Fast-observers wear colourful traditional dresses and laden a special bamboo basket with thakuwa, fruits and holy threads as prasad during Shasthi Puja, the third day of Chhath, and offer it to the Sun God during sunset at river banks and ponds.  The festival will conclude on Monday with the worship of the rising sun. Special security measures have been put in place in and around the designated worship spots to prevent any untoward incidents.