Monday, 30th October 2017

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Lakhs visit Patna Ganga for Chhath, start fast

People take a holy dip, collect river water to wash wheat and make Kharna Prasad

By Amit Bhelari in Patna
  • Published 13.11.18, 12:13 AM
  • Updated 13.11.18, 9:11 AM
  • 2 mins read
A million prayers: Sea of devotees during the second day of Chhath at Gaighat in Patna City on Monday. Sachin

District magistrate Kumar Ravi patrolled the Ganga on a boat and senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj inspected ghat arrangements on horseback as well as on a boat on Monday, the second day of Chhath, as lakhs of devotees thronged to take the holy dip and collected Ganga water with which they washed wheat to make the Kharna prasad.

On Kharna, devotees observe fast through the day and don’t even drink water. They offer prayers to the rising moon and then have their meal, but no intake of salt is allowed.

Most devotees washed and dried wheat at the ghats. They cooked kheer in brass pots on earthen chullahs (stoves) and used dry wood of the mango tree for cooking.

In the evening, most partook of roti and kheer (made with jaggery and not sugar). And after that they began their 36-hour fast.

Like Sunday, most devotees were full of praise for the Chhath arrangements by the administration.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force were patrolling on boats with divers. Chhath songs were being played continuously. Water was sprinkled on all the approach roads to spare devotees from swirling dust.

Most of the public address systems were functioning properly and regular announcements were being made.

Some people had parked their vehicles near the approach road of Gai Ghat. When he saw it, district magistrate Ravi immediately asked the officials concerned to shift the vehicles to BNR Training College on Ashok Rajpath, the designated parking spot.

“The changing rooms are better than past years, with more space, and even fogging to drive away mosquitoes is being done as dengue has become an epidemic in Bihar these days. So, these are good steps taken by the district administration,” said a devotee.

New stairs were developed at Collectorate Ghat and colour coding was done at every ghat. The safe ghats sported white and yellow cloths whereas dangerous ghats had red cloths to warn devotees.

Ambulances were found at most of the ghats and continuous video recording was being done of the activities on the ghats.

“I had promised to the Sun God that after I have a child I will come here to pray. God has fulfilled our wish so we are here to celebrate the occasion,” said Raushan Kumar, who had come with his family from Arwal district, around 81 km south-west of Patna.

Tuesday will be Pehli Arghya, in which the devotees will go to the riverbank again to offer prayers to the setting Sun. Doosri Arghya, the concluding part of the festival in which devotees offer prayers to the rising Sun, will be on Wednesday morning.

CM home Chhath

Kharna rituals were observed at the chief minister’s 7 Circular Road residence on Monday, as Nitish Kumar offered prasad to visitors including ministers Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, Nand Kishore Yadav, Krishan Nandan Prasad Verma, Mangal Pandey, Maheshwar Hazari, Shailesh Kumar, Pashupati Kumar Paras, JDU state president Bashistha Narayan Singh, JDU vice-president Prashant Kishor, MLA Shyam Rajak, chief secretary Deepak Kumar, director-general of police K.S. Dwivedi and several others.

SSP Manu Maharaaj at Collectorate Ghat
SSP Manu Maharaaj at Collectorate Ghat Nagendra Kumar Singh
DM Kumar Ravi inspects ghats on a boat on Monday.
DM Kumar Ravi inspects ghats on a boat on Monday. The Telegraph