Kathmandu, January 10
Shree Swasthani Brata Katha festival that lasts for a month began today with worship of Hindu goddess Swasthani. It falls on the full moon day of Poush, the ninth month of Nepali calendar and concludes on the next full moon day.
On the occasion, devotees thronged Shalinadi , a holy river in Sankhu, on the north-eastern outskirts of Kathmandu valley.
Special arrangement has been made on the banks of the river for the convenience of devotees, according to the festival organising committee. Goddess Swasthani is worshipped throughout the month with priests reciting tales of Swasthani Devi, Lord Shiva and other gods.
Some women devotees fast for the entire month taking only one meal a day. For the entire month, Hindus read one chapter a day of the religious text at home and shrines.
The text comprises stories, including mythical tales about the creation of the world, Hindu deities, and demons.
On the final day, all the offerings made to the goddess are immersed in the river. The festival is believed to bring together estranged relatives and improve fortunes. It is believed that among the Peeths mentioned in the text, at least one should be visited during the month. Legend has it that only after Parvati prayed to goddess Swasthani, she become Lord Shiva’s wife.
Metropolitan Police Range said it had put in place special security arrangements in and around the Shali River for safety of women devotees.
A version of this article appears in print on January 11, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.