Chhath Sandhya Argh – Chhat Dala Evening Puja

One of the most important pujas during Chhath festival is the Chhath Sandhya Argh – the evening prayers dedicated to Lord Surya. Men and women who are undertaking the Chhath fast worship the Sun God and take a ritual bath in a nearby river, pond or sea. Popular Chhath songs and bhajans and Chhat pooja prayers fill the entire area. Ritual regional folk songs are also sung on the occasion. Chhath Sandhya Argh is mainly performed along the banks of Ganga River and Koshi in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, other parts of eastern India and Nepal and attracts millions of devotees.

The entire family accompanies the person who has undertaken the fasting to the riverbank. Chhath Sandhya Argh attains a carnival atmosphere. Besides the worshipers, there are elders, friends, family, onlookers and numerous volunteers to help the people.

Some of the songs and bhajans that are rendered during the Chhath Sandhya Argh are carried on through oral transmission from mothers and mothers-in-law to daughters and daughters-in-law.

Devotees offer ‘Argh’ to setting sun (Lord Surya) along with ‘soop.’ ‘Argh’ and ‘soop’ are offerings and consists of flowers, fruits, sprouted grains, dry coconut, sugarcane, white radish, sweets and khajurees. The offering is made to Surya by standing in knee-deep water.

In the evening pujas are performed at home and a special puja is done for Agni – fire god. This puja is performed in a special area cordoned off by four sugarcane sticks.

On the next day morning, Chhath Sooryodaya Argh – Chhat Dala Morning Puja is performed and the fasting comes to an end after the pooja.
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