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As the worshippers descended the slope to the riverbank, dressed in their festival best and carrying offerings, a voice on the loudspeaker repeated: “The water is deep, don’t let go of your child’s hand, don’t let them in the water.”

It was a much-needed warning for the thousands of families in attendance for the four-day Hindu festival of Chhath that ended Thursday, a celebration of the sun deity Surya that involves fasting and making offerings while standing in water.

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