Are you ready to embark on a vibrant journey into the heart of one of India's most enchanting and ancient festivals? Step into the captivating realm of Chhath Puja, a radiant festival that pays homage to Lord Surya (the Sun) and Goddess Chhathi Maiya. 

Chhath Puja, also affectionately known as Chhath Parv, Dala Chhath, Chhetri, or Dala Puja, is a four-day festival that encompasses an array of rituals and customs, all centred around a profound connection with the Sun. Predominantly observed in the heartlands of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, this festival stands as a testament to the cultural opulence and spiritual profundity of these regions.

With Chhath Puja 2023 just around the corner, the air is buzzing with excitement and anticipation among devotees. This year, people come together to celebrate on the 14th of November, marking the sixth day after the sparkling festival of Diwali.

This festival is more than just a date on the calendar; it's a lively blend of tradition, spirituality, and connections. Hence, let’s embark on a fascinating journey to explore the multifaceted beauty of Chhath Puja 2023.

Chhath Puja 2023 Date and Timings

Chhath Puja is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion in various parts of India, but it holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. In 2023, the auspicious festival of Chhath Puja will be celebrated on Tuesday, 24th October.

The Chhath Puja rituals usually last for four days, starting from the day after Diwali. Here are the important timings for Chhath Puja 2023: 

  • 17th November 2023 (Friday) - Nahaaye Khaye (sunrise at 06:45 am and sunset at 05:27 pm) 
  • 18th November 2023 (Saturday) - Lohanda and Kharna (sunrise at 06:46 am and sunset at 05:26 pm) 
  • 19th November 2023 (Sunday) - Sandhya Arghya (sunrise at 06:46 am and sunset at 05:26 pm) 
  • 20th November 2023 (Monday) - Suryodaya/Usha Arghya (sunrise at 06:47 am and sunset at 05:26 pm)

It is advisable to consult a Panchang or a Hindu calendar to get the most accurate timing details for Chhath Puja 2023.

Chhath Puja Significance

Chhath Puja holds immense significance in the hearts of many. Beyond its radiant rituals and vibrant celebrations, Chhath Puja embodies several layers of importance. It symbolises a deep-rooted connection between humans and the environment, emphasising the vital role of the Sun in sustaining life and agriculture.

Chhath Puja also carries a historical and mythological backdrop, with legends like Draupadi's observance adding layers of reverence and tradition. This festival preserves and honours ancient customs, instilling a sense of cultural continuity.

Chhath Puja is celebrated for various compelling reasons that make it an extraordinary and cherished festival. 

Firstly, it's a beautiful homage to Lord Surya, the Sun God, who is considered the ultimate source of energy and life. People express their gratitude to the Sun for its life-sustaining warmth and radiance, acknowledging its crucial role in agriculture and our well-being.

Secondly, Chhath Puja carries historical significance. It is deeply rooted in ancient Hindu scriptures and folklore, with tales of Draupadi, the Pandavas' wife, observing this ritual. Her devotion to seeking the blessings of Surya Dev during Chhath Puja elevates the festival's importance and highlights its rich cultural heritage.

Thirdly, this celebration also emphasises the bond with nature. The ritual of standing in water and offering arghya (offerings) to the setting and rising Sun signifies the close connection between human life and the elements, emphasising environmental harmony and balance.

Chhath Puja isn't just a festival; it's a heartfelt tribute to the Sun, a nod to our cultural heritage, and a reminder of our intricate relationship with nature. 

Chhath Puja is a four-day festival filled with traditions and rituals that hold deep significance and reflect the devotion of its participants. Let's explore the day-wise Chhath Puja celebrations and the customs associated with each day:

Nahaaye Khaaye (Day 1): The festival commences with Nahaaye Khaaye, which means "bathing and eating." On this day, devotees take a dip in a holy water body, usually a river or a pond, before preparing a special meal. It is customary to eat this meal without using any garlic, or onions. The day is spent in cleanliness and purity.

Lohanda and Kharna (Day 2): On the second day, known as Lohanda or Kharna, devotees observe a strict fast throughout the day. In the evening, they offer a mixture of jaggery and water to the Sun God, which is consumed as Prasad (blessed food) after sunset. This ritual symbolises the beginning of the rigorous fasting period.

Sandhya Arghya (Day 3): The third day is a significant day of Chhath Puja when the main rituals take place. At sunset, devotees gather at the ghats (riverbanks) or their chosen water bodies to offer Arghya (offering) to the setting Sun. They stand waist-deep in the water, facing the Sun, and chant prayers. The offerings include sugarcane stalks, coconuts, fruits, and thekua (a special sweet dish). The day is marked by melodious folk songs and communal devotion.

Usha Arghya (Day 4): The final day of Chhath Puja, known as Usha Arghya, is celebrated at sunrise. Devotees return to the ghats, this time to offer Arghya to the rising Sun. It is a moment of great spiritual significance as they seek the blessings of the Sun God for prosperity and well-being. After this, the 36-hour-long fast is broken with the Prasad offered by the devotees.

Best Places to Witness Chhath Puja 2023 Celebrations in India

If you're looking for the best spots to witness the Chhath Puja 2023 celebrations, here are some remarkable destinations to consider:

  1. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh: Varanasi, situated along the sacred Ganges River, is one of the most iconic places to experience Chhath Puja. The ghats of Varanasi come alive with devotees offering prayers and performing rituals, creating a mesmerising and spiritually charged atmosphere.
  2. Patna, Bihar: As the capital of Bihar, Patna hosts some of the grandest Chhath Puja celebrations in the country. The city's riverbanks and public spaces transform into vibrant hubs of devotion during this time, with thousands of people gathering to pay homage to the Sun God.
  3. Kolkata, West Bengal: The banks of the Hooghly River in Kolkata witness a significant Chhath Puja celebration. The city's cosmopolitan charm blends with the traditions of this festival, making it a unique and culturally diverse experience for observers.
  4. Ranchi, Jharkhand: Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, offers a serene and picturesque setting for Chhath Puja celebrations. The lakes and water bodies in and around Ranchi become the focal point of the festivities, with devotees gathered for rituals and prayers.

Chhath Puja 2023 promises to deepen the connection between humanity and the Sun, the ultimate source of life and energy. This ancient festival, observed with devotion and fervour in the heartlands of India, honours traditions, symbolises the bond between nature and human life. As the day approaches, devotees eagerly anticipate the rituals and customs that embody gratitude, unity, and cultural continuity.

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