Karva Chauth is a widely popular festival in India that is celebrated by married women who fast and worship the moon on this day for the long and healthy life of their husbands. The festival is celebrated in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar on the Krishna Paksha Chaturthi. It is celebrated across the country but it is more popular in the northern cities of India, specifically Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
According to the ancient scriptures and mythological texts, Karva Chauth is a one-day Hindu festival when women neither eat food nor drink water from sunrise to moonrise. Some folklores claim that Draupadi from the Mahabharata also kept a Vrat (fast) for her 5 Pandav husbands when they went to the Nilgiri mountain. Apart from this, there are many other stories related to the Karva Chauth Vrat.
A commonly believed folklore states that the festival is based on a real-life story of a married woman who was known as Karwa. Karwa’s husband was taking a bath in a river when a crocodile attacked him, witnessing this, Karwa ran towards her husband to save him. She bound the crocodile and saved her husband. When Lord Yama reached there he saw an injured crocodile. Lord Yama was so impressed with her courage that Karwa showed that he granted her husband a long and healthy life and sent the crocodile to hell.
The story of queen Veervati is also popular and is told during the puja of Karwa Chauth. The queen was at her parents' home for the festival. Seeing his sister on being empty stomach for the entire day, he became really concerned and faked a moon over a tree using a mirror. But the moment she ended her fast, the news of her husband's death came, and she started weeping uncontrollably. Then a goddess arrived and informed her that she was tricked by her brothers, and if she will keep another fast with undiverted devotion, her husband will be alive again. She did exactly what was instructed, and her husband was alive again.
Another story that is popular and finds its mention in the spiritual and mythological books is the story of Satyavan and Savitri. Lord Yama came to end the life of Satyavan, Savitri his wife, begged Lord Yama to grant his life. When Lord Yama refused Savitri started following Lord Yama. After this, the God of death asked her to seek any wish apart from her husband’s life. Savitri gave a thought to this wish and clearly asked to be blessed with children and to bless her with children, Lord Yama had to grant her husband’s life. On that day Lord Yama blessed Satyavan with long and healthy life, and from then onwards Karva Chauth is being celebrated.
The fast of Karva Chauth begins before the sunrises. The married women are offered ‘Sargi’, a meal made by their mother-in-law which she must eat before the sunrise, and keep the fast till the moon rises of the same evening. Women wear their bridal outfits, apply henna on hands and feet, wear jewelry, Mangalsutra, and all the things that a bride is entitled to wear.
During the daytime, married women worship Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and their Son Lord Ganesha and listen to the popular folk stories of Karva Chauth. When the moon appears women worship the moon and offer it ‘Aragya’ water from a pot which is known as Karva. After worshipping the moon they break their fast and have food, water, and sweets. ‘Bayna’ or ‘Baya’ is a plate containing gifts that are also exchanged between the married women in the family on Karva Chauth.
Although the festival is celebrated in the entire northern region of the country, the festival holds special significance in Punjab. Here in Punjab, the ‘Sargi’ plate comprises fruits, sweets, dry fruits, coconut, jewelry, clothes, and cooked food as well.
One of the most vibrant states of India, Punjab is known for its rich heritage, spiritual significance, natural beauty, flavorsome local cuisines, and warm nature of its inhabitants. Punjab is well-connected to other states of the country via multiple modes of transportation which include airways, roadways, and railways. The state is approximately 400, 1,600, 1,900, and 2,500 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively.
Biking enthusiasts or people who are looking to travel to the city by their own vehicle may consider taking NH 44, 48, 19, and 44 if arriving from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. One may also reserve a seat in the inter-state tourist buses to Punjab. The fare for a bus seat starts from Rs.500, which may go up to Rs.1500 in the case of luxurious Volvo buses.
Traveling by rail is another convenient option to reach Punjab and witness the festival in their local style. Amritsar junction, Ludhiana junction, Pathankot Junction are a few popular railway stations of Punjab. Shan-e-Punjab, Jalianwala Bagh Express, and Amritsar Shatabdi are a few popular trains in which one may make the bookings to reach Punjab.
Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Pathankot Airport, and Ludhiana Airport are a few popular airports that receive direct and connecting flights from all the other major airports of India. IndiGo, Spicejet, and Air India run regular flights to Punjab hence one may consider traveling by air if comfort is a priority.