It's that time of the year when women in many parts of north India, including the capital, make a beeline for beauty parlours and henna designers to look their best as they pray for the long lives of their husbands on Karva Chauth that falls Tuesday.
Women observe a day-long fast on Karva Chauth, dedicating the evening to rituals by offering prayers to deity Gauri.
The festival is a tradition amongst homemakers, working women and newly-married women.
The day also means brisk business for beauty parlours, jewellery shops and henna artists as women throng such outlets a day before the festival.
"I would be taking leave from my office to celebrate the day with my husband. My mother-in-law has been guiding me on the fast preparations the last 5 years," said Manisha Khanna, 31, a media professional.
"I am done with my shopping, and hopefully my husband will also gift me something," said Khanna.
"The rates of these mehandi artists and beauty parlors are soaring high nowadays. But, the charm of the festival is such that no woman can compromise on looking beautiful," said Ashleen Kaur, 28, who had come to Hanuman Mandir in Connaught Place area for henna designs.
Women take the traditional sargi, a sweet made of milk and semolina before sunrise. For the rest of the day they keep fast.
The puja preparations include traditional ritual items of the Gaura Mata idol, karva (pitcher containing water), cow dung cake, tika, vermilion, the Bayana thali (plates) and gifts.
Songs specific to the festival are also sung in households and at community gatherings.
The women wait for the moon to rise before they can break their fast by taking the first morsel from the hands of their husband.