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November 13, 2010

Devotees worship Sun god on Chhath Puja day, standing in knee-deep water

Allahabad/Patna:Devotees gathered at the river banks on Saturday morning to worship the Sun god on the occasion of Chhath Puja. Women performed religious rituals and presented offerings to the Sun God while standing in knee-deep water. 'We presented offerings, comprising water, milk and flowers, to the Sun God and asked him to bless our children and family. It was a three-day fast which concluded today,' said Lalita, a devotee. According to prevalent custom, on the first day, devotees, mostly women, take a dip in the river and start fasting that continues till the last offering is made on the fourth day. On the second day, the rituals are performed at home, while over the next two days devotees take a dip in the river and offer special prayers to the Sun God seeking welfare and prosperity of their families. Meanwhile, in Patna, devotees flocked to river banks since early morning. They danced to the tunes of the devotional hymns and songs and offered fruits and flowers to the Sun God and sought his blessings. "It is an extremely holy festival. Chhath Puja is celebrated with fervour and has a lot of significance in the religion, hence we observe and celebrate it," said Maya Devi, a devotee. The festival is also popular among other metropolitan cities such as Kolkata, Siliguri, Pune and Mumbai. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX FST International Lavi Fair, a big draw in Himachal Pradesh by Hemant Chauhan Rampur (Himachal Pradesh): A four-day international Lavi Fair began this week in Himachal Pradesh's Rampur city with people from Tibet, China and Afghanistan participating in the fair. The fair is a blend of business and culture. With this fair the traders are benefited while the rich culture and tradition of the State is promoted. "Many people from Kinnaur, Lahul- Spiti and Tibet come for trade here. This fair is being organised from past 200-250 years. This fair is being organised with the help of local administration and city council," said B. R. Negi, organiser of International Lavi Fair. Pashmina is one of the biggest draws at the fair, along with agriculture products like dry fruits and nuts being sold in a large numbers. "Tibetan goods and Chinese items are on sale here in this fair, and nuts from Kinnaur are also being sold here. Though they are costly because of inflation but we have to buy, so we are buying," said Usha Chauhan, a visitor. The fair is named after 'lovi' (woolen long coat), which is a traditional dress that people wear during winters in the Shimla and Kinnaur districts. It has been celebrated since the time of Raja Kesar Singh of Rampur.

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