By A Staff Reporter, Kathmandu, Dec. 3: People across the county observed the Bala Chaturdashi festival today.
The festival is celebrated every year on the day of Marga Krishna Chaturdashi as per the Bikram Sambat calendar. On the occasion, devotees take a holy bath early in the morning and move around the Pashupatinath Temple, or their nearest Shiva shrines, scattering seven different kinds of grains (Satbij) and praying for the peace of their deceased relatives.
The preceding evening, that is on Thursday, people gathered at Pashupati and other shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and chanted hymns and prayers all night long. They also lit the Akhanda Jyoti (eternal flame) in the name of their family members who have passed away.
According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the Nepali Army pitched tents for the worshippers to perform the night-long vigil.
Friday morning, pilgrims partook in a ritual walk around the Sleshmantak forest to the Kailash Hill, Suryaghat, Gaurighat, Aryaghat, Guhyeshwari, Mrigasthali, Bishworup, Kirateshwar and the 108 Shivalinga area scattering Satbij.
It is believed that spreading the seven different kinds of grains at religious sites on the day of Bala Chaturdashi brings peace to the departed souls.
However, Dr. Milan Kumar Thapa, member secretary of PADT, said that the number of visitors had declined this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the people of Bhaktapur gathered at Doleshwor Temple to mark the day while people in eastern Nepal gathered at the Arjundhara Dham of Arjundhara Municipality and other Shiva temples and celebrated Bala Chaturdashi by offering grains, fruits and coins to deities.
Nabin Gattani, president of Arjundhara Dham Management Committee, said that over 100,000 devotees arrived in Arjundhara to celebrate the festival.
Large numbers of people thronged Devghat of Chitwan too.