Makar Sankranti, a festival associated with nature and Sun God, was celebrated in various parts of the state. Scores of people braved the winter chill and gathered on banks of river Ganga to take a holy dip here on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The festival falls on the day which marks the shift of the sun into ever-lengthening days. Devotees in Hapur also offered prayers and took a holy dip in river Ganga at Garh Mukteshwar Ghat.
Men and Women queued on the banks of the river to perform different holy rituals. Ramanand Das, a Saint from Ayodhya said, "According to Indian culture and tradition all the auspicious activities will be starting from today.""There are two Sankranti, Makar, and Karak, all the activities related to deities will begin today", he added. On asking about the change of Ghaghra river's name to Saryu by UP Govt, a resident of Ayodhya said, "We have got back what was ours from long ago and we are very excited to have our river's name back, it did not feel good when it was called Ghaghra instead of Saryu."
"River Saryu was never depended on anyone for the name, it had been called Saryu for a long time but now Govt has done a good work by renaming it as Saryu and it feels good, I am very happy," a top priest who offers prayer at Saryu said. Makara Sankranti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, in reference to deity Surya. The day marks the first day of the sun's transit into the Makara, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.
( With inputs from ANI )