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Thousands celebrate Chhath in Delhi

Delhi Govt has made arrangements at 24 places to help the devotees offer prayers, reports Amitabh Shukla.
None | By Amitabh Shukla, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 28, 2006 06:17 PM IST

As the sun set in on Saturday, thousands of people in the city stood by River Yamuna and other water bodies of the Capital to pay their obeisance to the Sun God and other forces of nature. The same process would be repeated at the time of the rising sun on Sunday morning heralding an end to the Chhath festival.

Though the Yamuna remained as dirty as ever and unfit for a bath, many devotees still stood knee deep in the murky and black water keeping in view the holy significance of the river. Some, even took bath in the water. The promise of the Delhi government that the fresh water released in the river would dilute the impurities, did not materialise on the ground.

The preparation for the festival began right after Deepawali as the strict regimen of fast, purity, cleanliness began to be observed in every house where a member had observed “vrat” (fast). Only at the conclusion of the festival on Sunday morning, many devotees would take their first food in 36 hours.

The festival, devotees believe, brings the blessings of Sun God and mother earth to those who follow the rituals and their family. The biggest festival of Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern UP has now become a part of the religio-cultural festival of Delhi.

The festival has grown big in the city in recent years with migrants from Bihar and eastern UP comprising around 40 lakh of the total Delhi population. “A large number of people have gone back to Bihar to celebrate the festival with their relatives. We couldn’t have managed to make arrangements if all these people had stayed back in Delhi,” said Mahabal Mishra, Congress MLA, who has organised several functions to mark the occasion.

Mishra claimed that he had written to all concerned to make the necessary arrangements before the festival. “I went to different Chhat ghats in the city and found the arrangements satisfactory,” he said, adding, “I have received complaints that water was not released in the Yamuna”.

On its part, the Delhi government claimed to have made arrangements at 24 different places in the city to facilitate the devotees offer their prayers. “All arrangements like barricading, flood lighting, tents, ambulances, security, cleanliness of the ghats etc. has been made” claimed Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her ministerial colleagues visited different Chhath ghats in the city to greet the people.

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