The festival of Chhath was celebrated with fervour across Bihar on Thursday, marked by fasting, praying, singing of traditional songs and making offerings to the setting sun.
The four-day Chhath began on Tuesday when devotees, mainly women, took a dip in rivers, a tradition known as 'nahai khai'. It was followed by the ritual of 'kharna' on Wednesday when sweet dishes were prepared before fasting.
Women observe fast for 36 hours during the festival. Devotees traditionally offer wheat, milk, sugarcane, bananas and coconuts to the Sun God. In many parts of the state, the festival is celebrated with religious fervour and zeal.
In Patna and other towns, all roads led to riverbanks, which were decorated and cleaned for the devotees to perform 'arghya' or oblations to the sun.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his cabinet colleagues preferred to spend the day celebrating Chhath with their families. At the Chief Minister's official residence 1, Anne Marg here, Chhath was a low-key affair. His sister and sister-in-law (the wife of his elder brother) performed Chhath.
Ignoring her illness, former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad's wife Rabri Devi performed Chhath, marked by grand festivity at their Patna home to which politicians and leaders of different faith are invited every year.
In Patna, over 100 ghats or riverside bathing platforms on the banks of the Ganges were given a facelift by the administration and volunteers ahead of the festival.
Colourful idols of the Sun God riding his chariot with seven horses, a new attraction this year, were sold on riverbanks. The administration and dozens of voluntary organisations worked round-the-clock to clean roads leading up to the banks of rivers and water bodies. The festival concludes on Friday morning with devotees worshipping the rising sun. Chhath is celebrated six days after Diwali.