Chhath Puja 2017: The week before last; I visited Buxar (Bihar) for Chhath Puja celebration. This festival is one of the biggest fest for all the people who belong to Bihar, U.P, Jharkhand and Nepal too or connected directly / indirectly to these states via their ancestral roots. Last time I visited this place in 2013; from then to now many things have been changed. In the beginning of this year, I have promised my mother that will visit during Chhath Puja time whatever would be the situation in office. Well, honestly speaking both office works via remote computing and personal commitment managed nicely even though situation of my current project is at peak (Burning state).
Let me pen down the origin & importance of Chhath Puja, History & Some Facts of Buxar city:
*** Chhath Puja: Origin & Importance ***
Sun is necessary for life of possibly every creature on the earth and this festival is a way to pay tribute to it irrespective of caste, creed, gender and social stigma. Sun God is believed to impart good health, prosperity, intelligence, and well-being. Therefore, the Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) is said to cure one of many different forms of mental and physical illness
This festival starts: 4th day from Diwali and ends at 7th day. It’s a four-day fest & the people who would be doing this Puja have to follow a strict rule during the course.
According to the rituals, women need to fast for four days following all the rules strictly:
· Usage of garlic and onion is restricted during the puja. Even regular salt is not consumed during these days; the devotees can consume rock salt instead.
First Day (4th day from Diwali): This day is known as NAHA-KHA where people who do fast take a bath in holy water, preferably of river Ganga to purify themselves and prepare food (consisting of rice, dal mixed with pumpkin, made in pure ghee). They are allowed to consume this meal only once in that day.
Second Day (5th day from Diwali): This day is known as KHARNA or Kheer-Roti (An Indian recipe where rice is prepared with sweetened milk instead of water) and chapatti (called roti in many Indian provinces). The people observes fast for the full day without taking even water and eat this Kheer-Roti as dinner after offering it to the rising moon and goddess ganga. This is the only time when they eat or drink anything from the starting of the day till the last day of Chhath.
Third Day (6th day from Diwali): This day is the main festival day and known as Chhath. The devotees do nirjala-vrat (Fast without taking single drop of water). During evening they go to bank of river Ganga with carrying Fruits/Prasad arranged in Tokna & Suppa (Utensil made up of bamboo). Devotee offering fruits and sweets in winnow to the setting sun; which is called as Sandhya Argh. Devotees, whose wishes are fulfilled, generally go to the water bodies performing Dandavat (covering the distance alternately lying and standing on the road from home to Ghat)
Fourth Day (7th day from Diwali): The last day of Chhath is known as Suryoday Argh. Devotees start reaching to the Ghat early morning [from 3 am to 5 am] and stand in water and wait for sunrise. Devotees worship the rising sun and break their fast by consuming the holy Prasad and have fruits and sweets as well. The offerings made to the Sun God include the new harvest. The food consumed during this period includes these freshly cultivated fruits, vegetables and grains.
· Usage of bed for sleeping is strictly prohibited during these days; devotes sleep on floor and in a separate room.
· Usage of gas-stove to prepare the food or Prasad is strictly prohibited, devotes prepare their food and Prasad on Chulha [mud stove made from local clay] & combustible material like wood dust, cow dung, pallets, grass and stick are used.
The main Prasad which devotee prepare for this festival is Thekua. It’s a popular homemade desert from Bihar which prepared with whole wheat flour, sugar, and coconuts.
Origin of Chhath Puja:
There are several stories of the origin of Chhath Puja:
· Ramayana: Lord Ram belonged to Suryavansha dynasty of the ancient India and their spiritual director was Surya (Lord Sun). They returned to Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years. To pay tribute to Sun ; lord Ram and Sita did holy bathing, Fasting and Abstaining from drinking water (Vrat), standing in water for long periods of time, offering Prasadam (prayer offerings) and Argh (commodity offering) to the rising and setting sun.
· Mahabharata: Draupadi and the Pandavas, rulers of Indraprastha (modern Delhi), performed the Chhath ritual on the advice of noble sage Dhaumya. Through her worship of the Sun God, Draupadi was not only able to solve her immediate problems, but also helped the Pandavas later regain their lost kingdom.
· Purana (Ancient): There was a king Priyavad didn’t have a child and thus, saint Kashyap asked him to perform Putrayeshti Yagya. His wife Malini was given Kheer as Prasad due to which she was blessed with a son. But, this son was born dead which distressed the King and he tried to kill himself. At that time, Lord’s human daughter, Devsena, appeared and told the King that she was Devi Shashti. She asked him to worship her and that he would be blessed with a child in return.
Women do this puja for longer life of her son.
*** History & Some Facts of Buxar city ***
Lord Ram killed Tadika (Rakshai: Demon) – As per mythology, Swami Vishwamitra was family guru of Lord Ram. They wanted to do unstoppable Yagya or Prayer at Buxar with their 8000 saints but every time they tried; Yagya was interrupted in between by the Rakshai – Tadika. So Vishwamitra demanded of King Dasaratha to send Ram & Lakshman to Buxar for education. Lord Ram killed Rakshai: Tadika and did her funeral near Chritarvan. Also Ram & Lakshman had their teaching accomplished at Buxar.
Ram-Rekha Ghat: Most sacred place in Buxar where Lord Ram took bath after killing Tadika. This place is connected to holy river Ganga where we can find the footsteps of Lord Rama. Also Lord Rama & Lakshman ate “Litti Chokha” there. Litti Chokha is a dough ball made up of whole wheat flour and stuffed with Sattu mixed with herbs and spices and then baked over coal or cow dung cakes or wood and served with Chokha – mashed char-grilled eggplant done with chilies, onion, tomato, cumin powder, coriander, and turmeric powder. Litti Chokha is Bihari delicacy and famous over there.
Ahirauli: It’s a place just six kilometer from Buxar where Ahilya, the wife of Gautam Rishi restored her human form from that of stone and attained salvation by a mere touch of the feet of Lord Rama.
Battle of Buxar: The Battle of Buxar was fought on 23rd Oct 1764 between British East India Company and combine force of armies of Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal; the Nawab of Awadh; and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. The battle fought at Buxar, a "small fortified town" within the territory of Bengal, located on the banks of the Ganges River about 130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Patna, was a decisive victory for the British East India Company. It proved to be decisive resulting in the establishment of British sovereignty in Bengal. This battle brought out the political weaknesses and military shortcomings of the Indians and the hollowness of the Mughal Empire.
Buxar Jail: Buxar jail is the main supplier of hanging rope across the India which is prepared by prisoner of that jail. Infamous person like Afzal, Kasab, etc. hanged till death by those ropes.
Here are the glimpses of Chhath Puja 2017 which I witnessed through my digital & natural eyes:
Title: Chhath Puja 2017
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxVC46lvj6o
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxVC46lvj6o
Thanks for watching this space.
Message through my blog to all the children – Your mother do this toughest fast for your longer life so never forget her in any stage of your life. And Do whatever you want to do but don’t trouble your mother !!!