Haridwar, November 9

The festival of ‘Chhath’, observance of rituals for Sun God also known as Surya Shasthi, was celebrated with gaiety in the city. Women belonging to families hailing from Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, thronged Ganga ghats since wee hours in the morning to perform Chhath puja.

The closure of the Ganga Canal, which has been extended due to the expansion of the capacity, the scant flow of water at Brahma Kund, Har-ki-Pauri, and adjacent ghats failed to dampen the festive spirit of the Chhath puja observers.
In the past few years, Chhath puja has gained popularity among locals too. Chhath rituals are performed at Ganga ghats on a large scale. The word Chhath means number six. The festivities continue for six days and Chhath is observed on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik though the actual span of Chhath is four days.
On the last two days, the emphasis is given on fasting and offering of ‘argh’ to Sun God. Argh is offered by women, who observe fast, along riverside or flowing water during the sunset and after performing rituals at dawn to the rising Sun. It is followed by breaking of the fast (Nirjala vrat).
President of the Poorvanchal Ekta Sangh Kanhaiya Lal said the four days of the Chhath puja were called Nahakha (bath and eat), Kharna (the day before Chhath), Chhath Sandhiya Arghya (evening offerings) and Parna (the day before Chhath).
At Har-ki-Pauri and adjacent Ganga ghats, despite scarcity of water, hundreds of women gathered to perform rituals to break their fast which they had been observing since morning. Members of the Poorvanchal Ekta Sangh Raj Dulari, Radha Krishan,Sushil Yadav, Kapil Dev, Shri Kant Awasthi and Shri Ram Gupta resented non-availability of water at the sanctum sanctorum of Braham Kund, Har-ki-Pauri due to ongoing expansion work of the Ganga Canal.
Ward councillor Asha Yadav said the decision of the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department to stop the water affected the performance of rituals in the city. Most of the Chhath observers offered rituals at Neel Dhara, Chandi Ghat-Indira Gandhi Setu, Birla Ghat, Daksh Temple and temporary makeshift ponds.

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