Devotees take holy dip as Bihar celebrates Makar Sankranti

Patna, Jan 15:Thousands of devotees in Bihar took a dip in the holy Ganga and other rivers on Tuesday to mark the annual harvest festival of Makar Sankranti.

Braving the biting morning chill, they thronged the banks of the Ganga and other rivers to offer prayers and take part in rituals.

People across the state enjoyed the festivities gorging on traditional delicacies like chuda-dahi, tilkut, khichdi and gur (jaggery).

'Chuda-dahi' is a staple dish in Bihar during Makar Sankranti. It is made by pouring curd on top of flattened rice and is served with jaggery. This is followed by a special khichdi. 

Makar Sankranti also marks the beginning of the end of the harsh winter season as well as the end of the month-long Kharmash -- an inauspicious Hindu month. 

"Makar Sankranti marks the commencement of longer days, signalling the beginning of winter's departure," Hindu priest Mahesh Mishra said. 

In political circle, this festival has provided an opportunity to politicians ahead of the general elections to display unity and popularity. 

The ruling National Democratic Alliance had organised traditional a Makar Sankranti feast for leaders, workers and supporters here on Monday. 

But the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) did not celebrate the festival as the camp is upset over RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav not getting bail in the fodder scam case and because of his ill health.

RJD's ally Congress is organising a feast here on Tuesday, likely to be attended by leaders of the Grand Alliance. 

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