Northern India's Chhath Puja festival draws huge numbers after two-year pandemic break

Large numbers of Hindu faithful gathered for the Chhath Puja festival beside the Lilajan River (also called Niranjana River) in Gaya District of Bihar State on Sunday 30 October. Chhath is a famous Bihar festival, dedicated to the sun god Surya. Legend has it that it has been celebrated in India since Vedic times (the late Bronze Age). The four-day folk festival involves rituals around bathing, fasting (including abstaining from drinking water) and praying to the setting and rising sun. Attendees also prepare specific religious food and offerings. Some participants perform a prostration march when they go to the river's edge. The festival is celebrated six days after Diwali, particularly in the northern Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, East Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi.