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Surya namaskar

Juhu beach resembled Kumbh Mela as lakhs of people thronged the beach to celebrate Chhath puja yesterday

For 80-year-old Damini Goenka, coming to Juhu beach is a yearly ritual. For the last 16 years, she has been celebrating Chhath puja at the beach with three generations of her family.


Here comes the Sun God: Thousands of devotees flock to Juhu beach
to seek blessings from the Sun on the occasion of Chhath puja yesterday.
This is the only festival in which devotees pray to the setting Sun


Like the Goenkas, lakhs of families gathered at Juhu beach yesterday. Each had their own special motive. "Five years ago, I met with an accident and suffered a spine injury. I took an oath that if I recover and walk, I shall conduct Chhath puja every year till I am alive," said Indrajit Jha, who has been coming to Juhu beach for the last three years.


Priests carry out grand rituals at Juhu beach

"I have recovered completely from the spinal injury. I believe I have been blessed by the Sun God and I am offering this puja to thank him," said Jha.

Head priest Mohan Mishra, who performed the puja at the beach, said, "A person has to fast for three continuous days and offer water to the Sun God at sunset and sunrise and then break his or her fast."


Women dressed in bright beautiful colours make offerings to the Sun God. 
pics/ Rane Ashish, Mahesh Chafe, Suresh KK


Chhath, a festival of veneration to the solar god, is the only festival where worshippers offer acknowledgments to the setting Sun. With the city seeing a large influx of people from Bihar over the past two decades, the festival has gained in prominence. 

Meanwhile, the police, who have an arduous task of controlling the crowds, have taken necessary precautions.
Assistant Inspector Arun Shinde said, "Approximately six lakh people are expected to turn out for the puja during sunset, out of which five lakh people are estimated to stay on till the next morning for the sunrise at the beach to conduct vedic pujas."

350
The number of policemen patrolling to maintain law and order at the beach

70
The number of lifeguards  stationed at the Juhu beach yesterday, instead of the usual 8

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