New Delhi: Braving early morning chill, hundreds of people living in different parts of the city converged on the banks of River Yamuna here on Wednesday to pay obeisance to the rising sun, as the four-day Chhath festival came to an end.
The age-old tradition entails worship of Sun God, embodied in cosmic energy, and is observed mainly by people from Bihar and eastern UP.
From Kalindi Kunj Ghat in south Delhi to Wazirabad and Kudesia Ghats in north, people from the two states thronged the riverbanks last evening and in the wee hours today in colourful processions.
The four-day celebrations mark the tradition of worshipping the Sun God and its radiant energy, references to which are found in sacred Hindu texts and centuries-old paintings and other artwork.
On day one, called ?nahai-khai? (bathing-eating ritual), devotees, mostly women, take a holy dip in nearest river or other water bodies to usher in the spirit of the festival.
On the following day, 'kharna', they prepare 'kheer' on earthen fire, which is distributed as 'prasad'.
During the next two days, they make an offering ('arghya') to the setting sun and the rising sun in succession, thus bringing down curtains on the celebrations, considered the grandest festival of Bihar and Poorvanchal region.
The national capital has a sizeable population of people hailing from the two states.
After offering the morning 'arghya' today, families eat 'thekua' as the main prasad, cooked by devotees themselves last night and then engage in a grand feast. Children also burst crackers.
"We went to Kalindi Kunj Ghat yesterday evening and this morning to observe the rituals. We were about 50 people, and though we have been out of Bihar for 12 years now, we try to not forget our traditions that bind us to our roots back home," said Subodh Gupta, a Nalanda district native, who now lives in Panchsheel Vihar in south Delhi.
In north and east Delhi too, people congregated at the nearest ghats or water bodies and paid obeisance to the rising sun.
At some places, temporary shallow pits were dug out and filled with water, especially in parks for convenience of people.
Mukesh Kumar, a native of Harnout in Nalanda, who also came to Kalindi Kunj Ghat said, "It we had our wish, we would want to go back to Bihar and celebrate it there, but, we work here now, and everyone in our family is here, so it is difficult travelling.... But, for us this festival means so much. Yamuna like Ganga is also our mother, so we go to her."
The festival attracts crowds from all parts of the national capital region, and long traffic jams were witnessed near the ghats last evening.
From sanitation to beautification municipal bodies had made all arrangements and spruced up the ghats for the occasion.
Delhi government and Delhi Police too worked in tandem with them to ensure peaceful and incident-free festivities.