The word “chhath” denotes the number 6 in Hindi. The festival is marked for four days beginning from the sixth day of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Kartik. The festival of Chhath begins immediately after Tihar. It is the greatest festival of Mithilanchal (Janakpur area) people who speak Maithili. This year it began on Thursday and ended Sunday.
(Pictures: Binaya Neupane)
Women offer Argha to the setting sun on Saturday evening at Rani Pokhari in Kathmandu
On the third day women worship the setting sun and offer arghas at their nearby ponds and rivers. The devotees also sing folk and devotional songs in the praise of the sun. Kathmandu women did their worships at Rani Pokhari. Devotees break their fasting after worshipping the rising sun on the morning of the fourth day of Chhath, which is also known as Paran or Parwan.
Chhath is a festival dedicated to the Sun God. It is considered to be a means to thank the Sun for bestowing the bounties of life in earth, as also for fulfilling particular wishes. Worship of the Sun has been practiced in different parts of Indian sub continent, and the world from time immemorial. Worship of sun has been described in the Rig Veda, the oldest Hindu scriptures, and hymns praying to the sun in the Vedas are found. In the ancient epic, the Mahabharata, references to worshipping of the sun by Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas, are found. They take a dip in Ganga Sagar, the famous lakes of the area. During the four-day-festival, the devotees worship the rising and setting sun. They have a belief that worshipping the sun would help cure the diseases like Leprosy and bring about longevity and prosperity to their family members.
Let’s see how Mithilanchal people observed their festival in Kathmandu.
The Rani Pokhari, before it was prepared for Chhath
The Rani Pokhari, after it was prepared for Chhath
A close look of offering Argha to the sun
Me too: a man also worships the sun
Rani Pokhari early Sunday morning and the women worshipping the rising sun
People enjoy boating at Rani Pokhari, early Sunday morning
A woman worships the sun
Worshipping the rising sun
It’s morning: The Ghantaghar at the back drop
The Management team
Rani Pokhari view from Ratnapark
The board at the park beside ratna Park, that reads Peace Park: dedicated to the Metropolitans.