Chhath in Lucknow: Thousands throng Gomti ghats to offer prayers to setting sun
LUCKNOW: Thousands of devotees thronged the banks of river Gomti in the state capital to perform Chhath Puja rituals on Wednesday evening. They offered first ‘arghya’ to the setting sun while second ‘arghya’ will be offered to the rising sun on Thursday morning.
People from Bhojpur Samaaj also organised a grand cultural programme at Lakshman Mela Park that was inaugurated by chief minister Yogi Adityanath. “We are thankful to the chief minister for taking out time from his busy schedule. We are also thankful to the UP government for supporting us and making Chhath Puja special for us,” said Prabhunath Rai, president Akhil Bhartiya Bhojpuri Samaaj —an organisation working for the revival of Chhath Puja tradition here in the state capital.
Rai said that more than 8000 people took part in the festivities, however, elaborate arrangements were made in order to ensure that social distancing was followed and Chhath Puja was carried out in a traditional way.
Kudiya Ghat, another most preferred Chhath Puja site, also remained packed with the devotees. The atmosphere at the ghat was devotional with Chhath songs playing in the background.
Situation remained the same at Mankameshwar ghat and Jhoolelal Vatika where a good number of devotees performed the Chhath Puja. On the first day, the people, especially those hailing from eastern UP and Bihar, joined the festivities and were seen erecting temporary camps, a part of rituals, on the river banks.
“It’s a good feel to observe Chhath Puja while staying away from my home. I am a resident of Gorakhpur and is observing Chhath for the past 10 years in Lucknow,” said Sarita Devi, a resident of Janakipuram while offering prayers.
Soni Kumari, who hails from Hussainganj, said, “It’s not only females but males too play an important role during the four-day long Chhath Puja festivities. “It is generally believed that only women observe the rituals that include holy bath, fasting and abstaining from drinking water. But in reality, men too play an important role as they carry the entire puja samagris to the ghats and also offer rituals. At many places, they also observe fast,” said Kumari.
Irrigation department played a pivotal role in facilitating the Chhath Puja as they regulated the water level in the river to ensure good flow of clean water.
Meanwhile, the district administration made elaborate arrangements at the Lakshman Mela Ground and other ghats to facilitate the devotees. “Special arrangements have been made at the ghats for the devotees. We have set up Covid-19 help desk at the ghats and ensured that social distancing is followed,” said Abhishek Prakash, district magistrate.
“We have illuminated and sanitised the ghats for the devotees. Besides, we have also deputed ambulances, water boats and divers to ensure safety to them,” he added.