Goverdhan Puja, Mha Puja And Nepal Sambat new year Today

KATHMANDU: People across the country today are celebrating the fourth day of the Tihar festival by worshipping cow or ox, as a part of Gai Puja or Goru Puja and worshipping own body as Mha Puja.

The Gai Puja and Govardhan Puja rituals are observed with the replicas of the Gai and Govardhan Mountain made out of the cow dung. People prepare a mixture of the cow dung and ochre formed into a paste and apply on the courtyard of their homes and on the floors.

The rituals are linked to the Hindu God Sri Krishna who, according to the legend, lifted the Govardhan Mountain by his hand and protected the people of a place called Gokul from torrential rains caused by Indra, the God of rain.

It is believed that the rain God was angered and thereby caused the heavy downpour.

Similarly, the ox is also worshipped today as it is a very useful animal in different agricultural works in Nepal, which is a predominantly agricultural country.

Likewise, the people of the Newar community are to observe the Mha Puja ritual in the evening today. Mha Puja refers to the worship of the self or one’s body.

Mha Puja is based on the religious belief that the soul or self is the most important in the world and that if the soul is satisfied, the gods are also satisfied and one's life becomes meaningful and prosperous.

Also today, a new year of the Nepal Sambat 1136, an indigenous calendar of Nepal, is also being celebrated today.

People of various communities, especially Newari, participate in a mass rally, Bhintuna Rally, to celebrate the New Year.

The Nepal Sambat began after Shankhadhar Sakhwa relieved the people of Nepal off debt during the rule of Lichchhavi King Raghavdev.

Recognising the contribution of Shankhadhar Sakhwa to the country and people, the government led by then Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai had announced Sakhwa a national luminary on November 18, 1999.

Likewise, the Council of Ministers chaired by first Prime Minister of Republic of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal had on October 23, 2008 nationally recognised the Nepal Sambat propounded by national luminary Shankhadhar Sakhwa.