The Sun God, though worshiped and prayed to in each and every ritual associated with Hinduism does not have a specific festival dedication that the entire sect celebrates together while worshiping the Sun as the prime deity has been a very important tradition amongst the Greeks, Egyptians, Mayans and almost all ancient religions in the world. Chhat Puja which is celebrated with great religious fervor in states of Bihar, Jharkhand and even some parts of U.P can be regarded as one festival that marks every Hindu’s devotion towards the Sun God. The Sun is not only the sole giver of energy but is also the central force driving life on Earth and a day dedicated to this Mighty force should indeed be celebrated with great enthusiasm and people who observe Chhat Puja indeed put in their best to celebrate the Sun’s power and draw its blessings.
Chhat Puja is actually dedicated to Chhati Ma who is none other than the Vedic Goddess Usha(Dawn), the wife and also a part of The Sun God, Suryadev. She is worshiped on the Sixth Day of the Hindu lunar month ‘Kartika’, thus her name derived. It is believed that the Chhat Puja was started by Draupadi and the Pandavas and since then has been passed down by generations.
In modern times, this ritual is mostly observed by the people who have their roots in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. They follow different traditions to stay pure like sleeping on the floor, eating nothing or just fruits and vegetables etc for 4 days. On the last day they offer their prayer once to the setting Sun and then on the next day to the rising Sun which symbolizes the life-cycle. Unlike other Hindu pujas and rituals, this puja does not require any involvement of Priests.
In Bengal, a large number of people observe Chhat Puja as people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are well spred across the state. Kolkata being one of the most important points of economic and cultural confluence with people of different ethnicity living in the city has also embraced this festival and people of the city celebrate this wonderful festival with equal fervor. On the days of Chhat, the banks of River Ganga are beautifully decorated with lights and the city administration takes special care in ensuring that the people coming to the banks do not face any difficulty while performing the rites.
The Kolkata Chhat Puja like many other Hindu rituals celebrates life and the power of the Almighty with great religious fervor.
Report and Photographs By:
Rakesh Kumar Das, a 29 year old is Computer Technology and Security trainer and a Freelance Photographer loves to portray nooks and crannies of his city Kolkata and people who live here. While he is not clicking pictures, he spends his time reading books, watching movies or playing his acoustic guitar.