East India Patna

The celebration of Chhath Puja

I still remember the heat I had faced when I crossed parts of Bihar during the summers, more than some fifteen years back and had thought I will never again be here in the future but as fate always has it, having married someone from the same place, a trip there was just a matter of time.

The long-expected trip finally happened during the festival of Chhath, one of the grandest festivals of the state.

chathh puja at the ghats of the Sone river
Early morning at the ghats of the Sone river

I got to experience the three day long Puja and the grandeur around it.

Dedicated to the sun god, the Chhath festival is celebrated in the month of October and is performed to thank him.

sunset chhat puja
The setting Sun

The belief and enthusiasm around the festival of all those taking part in the Puja as well as the members of the family is something to be experienced to be believed.

chath puja daura
Men carrying fruit and prasad laden tokris to the ghats

For someone like me who hardly have noticed or been a part of any religious activities, this was one Puja where I saw the men of the family share equal responsibilities as the women-folk, very much unlike the few others which I have seen. Be it carrying the heavy fruit-laden tokris (basket) to the river bank where the Puja is actually performed and bringing them back or helping the women of the house in making various types of prasads.

the Sone river chhath puja
People in the banks of the Sone river – early morning rush

After a slow first and second day of the Puja, the excitement really picks up on the third evening when the devotees head to the already crowded ghats to offer evening prayers.

chathh puja ghat
Way to the ghats

With the blaring loud-speakers at the decorated and well lit-up ghats, it was nothing less than an ongoing mela (fair).

chhath puja evening ghat
Prayers to the setting sun

The fourth and final day of the Puja was supposed to be the most exciting day and I was pretty excited about all the action at the ghat on this day. I had been hearing about it since long and now was my turn to witness it first hand!

However, there was a problem! To witness all the action of the fourth day (morning actually), I had to get up very early in the morning!!

Actually, not only get up but also be at the ghats even before the sun comes up!! After-all it is the early morning sun that has to be worshiped! Now that is something which I am not a fan of but then as they say, you got to do what you got to do(I know I am making it sound like something very big but believe you me, getting up so early in the morning has always been a big thing for me 😉 )

sunrise chhath puja
A misty sunrise

The walk to the river-banks, under the faint light of the moon was quite interesting with all the devotees singing songs of the/related to the Puja as they rushed towards the ghats determined to reach there before the Sun does.

The carnival like atmosphere on the banks of the river, full of bright-colors was visible from half-a-kilometer away. Everyone, the devotees, their friends and family were having a wonderful time. Meeting and greeting each other and sharing prasads.

sone river chhath puja
The ‘colorful’ river-bank

Done with the Puja, we slowly headed home before it was too hot. Once back, it would be time to feast on all the different types of prasad 🙂 .

13 thoughts on “The celebration of Chhath Puja”

  1. No photo of the Prasad?!

    Our Indian festivals are always colourful and we have got so many types in all the regions, varying slightly. I noticed sugarcane also. We too keep that when we celebrate Pongal festival which is also a pooja for the Sun god in Tamilnadu.

    Enjoyed reading this post, Rajiv!

    1. Thanks a lot Sandhya, so glad you enjoyed the post.

      Sadly I was too busy eating :-P… Totally forgot about that, next time for sure!

      And yes… Sugarcane as I am told, is the most primary thing needed in this Puja!

    1. Glad that you liked it Sunaina, thanks!

      All these years, I too, had just heard about the Puja. Experiencing it first-hand and that too, at a place where it is considered one of the biggest festival was a wonderful experience.

  2. Wow… I am not a Bihari but spend about 5 years of my early childhood there, Ranchi(:… all I know is that I did not have a great while there because I guess did not fit in the school or something… I lost that Bihari essence because I never went back… well… interesting that you actually enjoy observing or being in these festivities, some where before in one hill you said same thing you were not religious but climbed up hill for photography… this was colourful and exciting… its nice getting up early in the morning for a change, the freash nipness of atmosphere of early dawn… nice(:… and the part where the men fork do work is a interesting observation indeed…

    1. I am really glad Maria that you are reading all my posts so keenly. Thank you for that 🙂

      My first experience was really colorful and I am looking for my next visit there 🙂

  3. Credit goes to you for writing things well with pictures to highlight what you say… it is good stuff to do… writing about your travels

  4. I have fond memeories of it… there were many people from Bihar in the neighbourhood during my schooldays… used to receive thekuas every year…

    1. Haha… Thekuas are so synonymous to chhath. Sadly, in my part of Assam there was no Chhath when I was growing up, things however have changed in the past decade.

      The good bit though is that my wife is a Bihari so next time you are home, you are more than welcome for thekuas and more 🙂 .

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