Bihar Woman Observes Chhath Puja Fast For 65 Families, Offers Over 100 Soops – News18
Sandhya Mishra, a resident of Bhagalpur, Bihar is known for her devout observance of the Chhath fast, collecting over 100 soop (bamboo trays) annually. This year, she plans to increase her devotion by offering 127 soop in worship to Chhathi Maiya. Having celebrated Chhath for 33 years, Sandhya attracts devotees not only from Bihar but also from places like Ranchi, Bengaluru, Khagaria, and Nagpur who seek her participation in the Chhath rituals.
In 1989, Sandhya Mishra shared that she began celebrating the Chhath festival after she was asked by her mother-in-law, who desired a grandson. Facing challenges in conceiving a son, Sandhya prayed to Chhathi Maiya for a male child. Her prayers were answered, and since then, she has continued to observe Chhath as a token of gratitude for the blessing of a son.
In 2021, Sandhya Mishra shared that she marked a milestone in her Chhath celebrations by offering a record 137 soops to the Sun God. She mentioned starting with just 11 soop in the firsr year, and over time, as people visited and their wishes were granted, they began organising Chhath at her place. This year, she is overseeing the Chhath festivities for 65 families, not limited to Bihar alone. Devotees from places like Ranchi, Bengaluru, Khagaria and Nagpur are also joining her to celebrate Chhath at her location.
Sandhya mentioned that observing the Chhath fast involves spending about 4 hours in the water, despite which she never felt fatigued due to the communal support and festive spirit. Igniting the significance of Chhath as Bihar’s major festival, she highlighted the unity and collaboration as everyone comes together to celebrate. People from outside Bihar make it a point to reach the state during Chhath, believing that the festival holds the power to fulfil the wishes made during its celebration.
Chhath Puja includes various rituals, such as the purification bath (Nahay Khay) in a sacred river, fasting, preparing special offerings, and performing “arghya”- offerings to the setting and rising Sun. Devotees, especially women, adhere to rigorous fasting during this time, expressing their devotion through prayers to the Sun God. The culmination of the festival involves venerating the sun during its setting and rising timings.