Jamshedpur: Jamshedpur, a city steeped in festive fervor, witnessed the observance of the ritual Kharna on Saturday, marking a significant step in the Chhath festival celebrations. The main offerings of argya to the Sun god were scheduled for Sunday as part of the Chhath festivities.
Chhath, celebrated six days after Diwali, is a devoted homage to the sun god. Married women adhere to a 36-hour fast during this festival, offering wheat, milk, sugar cane, bananas, and coconuts to the sun.
In Jamshedpur, the streets were adorned with hundreds of roadside vendors, predominantly comprising economically disadvantaged individuals, selling the requisite items for Chhath rituals. Devotees utilized bamboo baskets, locally known as soop and tokri, to carry out their rituals.
A devotee, clad in a new cotton sari, expressed, “We first took a bath to clean ourselves before preparing food to mark the beginning of the Chhath festival.” The age-old ritual of Nahai-Khai, involving the preparation of traditional food, is considered a symbol of purity and strict discipline during the festival.
Devotees, known as ‘varti,’ performed Chhath prayers and other associated rituals, showcasing faith, purity, and devotion to the Sun god. Notably, colorful idols of the Sun god riding a chariot with seven horses became a new attraction this year, available for purchase on riverbanks adorned and cleaned by devotees.
The administration and numerous voluntary organizations worked tirelessly to clean roads leading to riverbanks and water bodies. District authorities declared certain ‘ghats’ in the city as unsafe and dangerous.
In a heartening move, several business families, particularly those residing in Jugsalai Municipal Area and Bistupur, extended support to economically disadvantaged Chhath devotees.
Simultaneously, the district traffic police imposed a ban on the entry of heavy vehicles from 12 midnight to 9 am, ensuring smoother traffic flow during the celebrations.
“It is believed that women desirous of getting a son are generally the ones to perform the puja. However, anybody can wish for anything. The rituals in Chhath are regarded as one of the most difficult due to its strict rules and regulations. Even a minor mistake in the rituals can have a negative impact,” shared Usha Rani Shukla, a vrati with over 20 years of Chhath experience.
Every aspect of the puja involves meticulous preparation, from handmade stoves (‘chulha’) for preparing ‘prasads’ to sleeping on the floor for those observing the fast. The family of the ‘vrati’ refrains from consuming non-vegetarian food until the second arghya is offered. While arghya can be offered in rivers, ponds, and lakes, flowing water is preferred for its sacred significance in the ritual.