Devotees observe Chhath across India, offer prayers to Sun God
A large number of devotees across India observed fasts, worshipped Sun God and took holy morning dips on the occasion 'Chhath', a Hindu festival dedicated to Sun God.
The Chhath, celebrated on the sixth and seventh days after Diwali, the festival of lights, is significant for married women who observe three-day fast and present religious offerings to the Sun God while standing in knee-deep water.
Millions of devotees gathered in various parts of India with trays full of religious offerings on river sides to offer their prayers and took holy dips in the chilling waters early in the morning on Tuesday.
The festival is highly popular among the people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
In Mumbai, thousands gathered on the city's beaches and stayed submerged in the waters of the Arabian Sea while offering prayers to the Sun God early this morning.
For the devotees, Chhat is the main festival as they believe that with the blessing of God all their wishes are fulfilled by God.
"Whatever we pray for, all our wishes are fulfilled and with the blessings of Goddess Chhath, we have everything and I have come here with my family and children," said Bindu Devi, a devotee in Mumbai.
People also gathered in large numbers in Patna where devotees congregated on the banks of the holy River Ganges for the prayers.
Most of the devotees broke their fasts after making their ritualistic offerings to the Sun God and taking a holy dip in the chilling waters of the river.
"Great pains are taken to observe the fasts. If the fasts are undertaken with sincerity then God is pleased. This is why this festival is regarded so auspicious," said Chameli Singh, a devotee.
According to traditions, on the first day, devotees, mostly women, take a dip in the river and begin fasting.
On the second day, the rituals are performed at home, while over the next two days devotees take a dip in the holy rivers and worship Sun God and pray for the welfare and prosperity of their families.
On the third day people break their fasts and offer prayers to God for the fulfillment of their wishes as they assemble at the holy rivers and pray to Sun God.
Large crowds were also seen in the temple city of Varanasi, where people made their ritualistic offerings and took holy dips in the river Ganges.
Chhat celebrations were also witnessed in the national capital New Delhi, where thousands of people braved the early morning cold and gathered on the banks of the Yamuna River and offered their prayers on the occasion of the festival.