Standing waist-deep in rivers, women have been fasting and making offerings to the Sun to pray for the well-being of their husbands and family. During the Hindu festival of Chhath Puja, devotees immerse themselves in rivers and lakes at sunrise and sunset to worship Surya, the sun god.

Devotees prepare offerings of fruit and flowers to appease Surya and beg for the longevity and prosperity of their husbands and other family members. The sun god is also believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy. The festival is celebrated on the sixth and seventh days after Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. It is observed mainly in India's Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, and in Nepal. Although it is usually observed by women it is not uncommon to see men participate in this ancient tradition.

Chhat Puja
Hindu women worship the sun god Surya in the waters of the river Yamuna in New DelhiAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
Chhat Puja
A woman carries offerings into the river Yamuna in New DelhiSajjad Hussain/AFP
Chhat Puja
A devotee offers prayers as she waits for the rising sun in Kathmandu, NepalNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Chhat Puja
A woman holding offerings waits for the sun to rise while standing in a lake in ChandigarhAjay Verma/Reuters
Chhat Puja
Women prepare offerings on the banks of the river Sabarmati as they wait for the sunrise in AhmedabadAmit Dave/Reuters
chhath puja
A Hindu devotee takes a selfie while travelling in a boat on the polluted waters of the Yamuna river in New DelhiAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
chhath puja
A woman waits for the sun to rise while sitting on the banks of the polluted Yamuna river in New DelhiAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
chhath puja
Women immerse themselves in the highly polluted waters of the Yamuna river in New DelhiAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
Chhat Puja
A youth lights fireworks while celebrating Chhath Puja in AgartalaJayanta Dey/Reuters
Chhat Puja
A woman steps over a child in a ritual seeking blessings for the child from the sun god Surya in KolkataRupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
Chhat Puja
Crowds of devotees, many carrying offerings of fruit, gather on the banks of the Ganges in KolkataRupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
Chhat Puja
Hindu women walk into the Arabian Sea during the Hindu festival of Chhath Puja in MumbaiShailesh Andrade/Reuters
Chhat Puja
A Hindu woman worships the sun god Surya in the waters of a lake in ChandigarhAjay Verma/Reuters
Chhat Puja
Devotees cross a temporary bridge over the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, NepalNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Chhat Puja
Children let off fireworks on the banks of the Ganges in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
Chhat Puja
Women perform religious rituals after sunset on the banks of the river Ganges in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
Chhat Puja
Devotees' colourful saris are reflected in the water at the Durgiana temple in AmritsarNarinder Nanu/AFP
Chhat Puja
Devotees walk into the river Yamuna in New DelhiSajjad Hussain/AFP
Chhat Puja
A devotee prepares offerings of fruit on the banks of the Hussain Sagar Lake in HyderabadNoah Seelam/AFP
Chhat Puja
Devotees offer prayers to the sun during the Chhath festival on the banks of the Hussain Sagar Lake in HyderabadNoah Seelam/AFP
Chhat Puja
A woman makes offerings to the sun god as she stands in water in the gardens of India Gate in New DelhiPrakash Singh/AFP
Chhat Puja
A woman holds offerings as she stands in the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, NepalPrakash Mathema/AFP
Chhat Puja
A Nepalese Hindu woman makes offerings to the sun god in the Bagmati River in KathmanduPrakash Mathema/AFP