Chhath festival begins with fanfare

Birgunj/Rajbiraj, October 24

Chhath, a festival mainly celebrated in the Tarai, is dedicated to the sun. It began with much fanfare today.

On the first day of Chhath, devotees maintain cleanliness by taking a dip in the holy waters and consume vegetarian food, while on the second day they observe a fast and only consume food in the evening after offering prayers and holy water to the setting sun.

The third day is spent by fasting devotees performing puja along river banks and ponds. The festival comes to an end on the fourth day after holy water is offered to the rising sun early in the morning.

Ponds, rivers and lakes across the Tarai are cleaned and decorated for the festival. Birgunj residents throng Chhapkaiya, Nagawa, Inarwa, Ghadiarwa, Ranighat, Panitanki, Murli, Tejarthatole, Pipara, Ramgadhawa, Laxmanwa and Srishiya and Singha rivers, among others, to perform Chhath puja.

Birgunj Metropolitan City and the concerned wards have prepared Chhathghaths in their localities with colourful decorations.

Meanwhile, marketplaces in Saptari district headquarters Rajbiraj were crowded with devotees flocking to purchase puja items. The devotes have decked ponds in Rajbiraj-1-based Bhagawati temple, Kaltu Das pond, Sakaldev Das pond and Turanti pond besides managing the ghats in Kanchanpur, Bhardaha, Hanumannagar, Rupani and Kalyanpur, among dozens of other places. Devotees from Saptari, Sunsari, Siraha and the bordering Indian villages also arrive at Bhardaha-based Koshi Barrage for the festival.

In Rautahat’s Gaur, devotees have started maintaining sanitation in the holy places where puja will be perfomed.

Artist and philanthropist Sita Ram Kattel, teams from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepali Army, besides the devotees were involved in cleaning the water bodies.

Chhath festival is observed wishing prosperity, longevity and well-being of family members. It is believed that the sun god relieves people with skin diseases and blesses them with wealth and offsprings.