Janai Purnima observed

KATHMANDU: Bidding adieu to the rainy season and welcoming the winter, the Hindus celebrated the holy festival of Janai Purnima across the country today.

On the occasion, 'Tagadhari Hindus' change the Janai -- the sacred thread-- after having their hair shaved and taking holy dips in ponds and rivers. The Hindus also receive Raksha Bandhan - thread around wrist -- from priests. According to the widespread belief, the Raksha Bandhan is purified by mantras from Vedas and thus is regarded as a symbol of protection.

They also perform their annual after death rituals giving tarpan to their deceased forefathers.

The festival is also known as Shrawani Purnima, Kwati Purnima, Rishi Purnima and Rakshya Bandhan.

In the Valley, devotees worship Lord Shiva at Pashupatinath and Kumbheswor in Lalitpur. Religious fairs are also held in Gosaikunda in Rasuwa, Triveni in Jumla, among others Hindu shrines.

People living in the Tarai region, celebrate this day as the Rakhi festival for strengthening a bond of love between sisters and brothers.

Likewise, people belonging to Newar communities eat kwati -- a mixture of sprouted legumes -- today. Similarly, this holy day is also celebrated by the people of Gurung and Thakali community organising a Yatung mela (fair) on the premises of Muktinath Temple in Mustang today.