Chandigarh, Oct 29 (UNI) Religious fervour and gaiety marked the ''Karvachauth'' festival in north India today with women observing fast for the longevity and well-being of their husbands.
The women, dressed in the festive best and in traditional jewellery, most of them adorning bridal finery, thronged market places in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh Union Territory to make purchases, especially bangles and ''Karvas'' (earthern pots) which have special significance on this pious occasion.
Mehndi stalls made brisk business as the craze of clouring hands with ''mehndi'' for this occasion always remained high among women.
Married women broke their fast after first glimpse of the moon by drinking water stored in ''karvas'' and prayed for long life and prosperity of their husbands. Even some men and girls also kept fast and went without food or water during the day.
Police personnel patrolled the busy market areas to maintain peace.
Some educational institutions were closed for the day and attendence of women in offices was thin.