Jharsuguda: Hundreds gathered on the banks of the IB River on Tuesday to pay their respects to the Sun god and the river on the occasion of Chhath. People, mostly belonging to Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh, thronged the ghats of almost all ponds & river nearby bearing offerings of fruits, flowers, sweets and sugarcane for this Chhatt Puja.
Chhath, celebrated six days after Diwali, is a time for worship of the Sun god. A day before the ‘Suryodaya Aargh avam Paaran’. hundreds of married women with vermillion on faces and wooden baskets in hands, women offered ‘arghya’ to Sun god at various ghats on this occasion of Dala Chhath.
During the festival, married women observe a fast for 36 hours and devotees offer wheat, milk, sugarcane, bananas and coconuts to the Sun.
Chhath Puja is an ancient Hindu festival and only Vedic Festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya, also known as Surya Shashti. The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. The Sun, considered the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress.
This festival of bathing and worshiping that follows a period of abstinence and segregation of the worshiper from the main household for four days. During this period, the worshiper observes purity, and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket.
This is the only holy festival which has no involvement of any pandit (priest). The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun in celebrating its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death. It is seen as the most glorious form of Sun worship.
The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad (prayer offerings) and aragh to the setting and rising sun.