PATNA: Around 5 crore devotees, a majority of them women, offered 'argh' to the Sun God on Chhath festival in Bihar at more than 60000 ponds, 30000 ghats of different rivers and more than 1 lakh artificially developed water tanks.
In Patna alone, devotees offered prayers at 41 artificial ponds at 11 parks along with a number of ghats along river Ganga on Saturday. The Chhath festival is one of the mass observed festival celebrated since vedic days.
Not just the locals, the festival was observed even by 4000 prisoners and some women belonging to the minority community.
According to an estimate, the number of people observing this festival is growing year by year.
A number of Biharis who are employed in the US and other countries also observe this festival either in India or wherever they are at this time of the year.
"Since it is directly related to the Sun God, it is observed with all purity and precautions. Fasting during this time purifies the devotees from within and energises the biological cycle. Standing in waist-deep water while facing the sun and reciting the Gayatri mantra creates a major reaction that energises the entire body," says Pandit Bambam Jha.
Apart from Bihar and UP, the Chhath festival is also observed in Mumbai, Bangalore, Rajasthan, MP, Jharkhand, West Bengal (where CM Mamata Banerjee had made arrangements this time), HP, Haryana among other places.
The Bihar government has deployed more than 1.5 lakh security forces across the state for crowd management and other safety-related works.
The festival is also observed in almost every political leader's homes including chief minister Nitish Kumar and former CM Rabri Devi.