Siraha, April 15
Hordes of childless couples thronged Patari pond of Laxmipur Rural Municipality in Siraha today to take holy dips with the hope of having babies.
A popular belief has it that couples, mainly women, who take holy dips in the pond, pray and pledge offerings to the deity here are blessed with babies. It’s due to this belief that people from as far as Patna, Madhubani and Darbhanga of India come to this place every year on this day.
Madhubani’s Sangita Mandal, 25, said she had come with high hopes all the way from India.
“It has been around five years since I got married but I don’t have a baby. So I have come here with the hope that the deity will provide me a child,” said Mandal, who was accompanied by her husband and aunt.
Thirty-two-year-old Umesh and his wife Renu Devi Singh, 30, also hail from Madhubani. “It has been ten years since we got married but we are childless. Now that we have come to this revered place, we believe we will have a baby,” they said.
Dhanusha’s Rabina Thakur, 28, got married six years ago but is childless. “I consulted medical practitioners and witch doctors, but to no avail. Now that I have come to this holy place, I am convinced that the deity will bless me with a child,” she said.
Twenty-four-year-old Ranjit Sah of Gaushala, Mahottari, reached the pond with a he-goat today to offer to the deity. “My grandmother had pledged to sacrifice a he-goat if she had grandsons. Though my grandma is no more, now after all these years, I am here with a he-goat to make the sacrifice,” he said.
The pond spreads over an area of 10 bigha land. Devotees who come here for a holy dip are expected to observe an eighteen-hour-long fast starting from the eve of the New Year Day (as per the Bikram Sambat calendar) and take a dip in the pond the next day.
It is said the devotees are blessed with child if they can get hold of any earth, pebbles or any creature in the pond in the very first dip.
A version of this article appears in print on April 16, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.