Bihar celebrates Chhath puja

Patna: `Chhath` was celebrated across Bihar today with lakhs of devotees thronging banks of several rivers and ponds besides rooftops to offer prayers and offerings to the rising Sun for the welfare of their near and dear ones.

The sunrise this morning was greeted with the burst of crackers as scores of devotees offered prayers standing in waist-deep water of rivers and ponds in several areas. After offering `Arghyas`, the devotees exchanged greetings with one another after nearly 36-hour-long fast and had prasad like `thekua`, sweets and fruits.

For the four-day festival, which began on October 30, all ghats where devotees offered prayers to the Sun were spruced up with lighting arrangements. The state capital was decked up for the festival with decorated pandals installing idols of the `Sun God` on his seven-horse chariot in different areas.

The festival was by and large peaceful, Director General of Police Abhayanand said. Greeting people of the state on the occasion, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, "Chhath festival has given Bihar and Biharis a distinct identity and now it is celebrated not only in Delhi and Mumbai but also in London. May God bestow happiness, peace and prosperity on the people of Bihar wherever they are."