PATNA: The sacred aroma of ‘kheer’ made of rice, milk and jaggery and cooked on earthen stoves using mango wood, filled the air on the ‘Kharna’ day on Wednesday at the Patna Collectorate ghat where a large number of devotees have assembled to perform Chhath puja.
Sanju Devi is one of the devotees camping at the collectorate for the purpose. She lives in Gaya while her husband Vinay Kumar works in Delhi. “We have been coming to Patna for the last 10 years as my wife wants to perform the rituals only on the Ganga bank and the Ganga at Patna is closest to Gaya,” he said.
Naresh Choudhary along with family has come from Lohai village in Arwal district. All of 23 years, Naresh is also doing Chhath — for the first time.
A number of local devotees had also come to the ghat on Wednesday to collect the holy river water with which they said they would prepare ‘prasad’ for Chhath at home.
Thakurbari Road resident Savitri Devi, who was carrying the Ganga water in a brass vessel on her head, said she was not feeling tired apparently because of the blessing of Chatthi Maiyya. “She gives devotees tye strength and energy to carry out the rigorous rituals,” she said.
It is like a mini fair at the collectorate ground where several small makeshift stalls selling earthen stoves, mango wood, cow dung cakes, flowers, mango leaves etc have come up.
Many ‘vratis’ (women observing Chhath) were also seen waiting for their turn to get ‘aalta’ applied on their feet before starting the rituals. Munna Thakur, doing them this favour, said he took Rs 10 per two feet. “It is an age-old tradition to get ‘aalta’ applied by a Thakur, and many people still follow it,” said Munna who otherwise works as a barber in Masaurhi.