Over half a million observe Bala Chaturdashi at PashupatiOver half a million Hindu devotees performed Satbeej Chharne ritual in memory of their departed family members on the occasion of Bala Chaturdashi festival at the Pashupatinath temple on Monday morning.
Over half a million Hindu devotees performed Satbeej Chharne ritual in memory of their departed family members on the occasion of Bala Chaturdashi festival at the Pashupatinath temple on Monday morning.
After taking a sacred bath in the river early in the morning, the devotees scattered Satbij or seven types of grains or seeds—paddy, barley, sesame, wheat, gram, maize and finger millet—as they followed a pescribed path around the temple.
People who have lost their family members came to the shrine to spend the night awake, lighting candles in their memory in the Kailash area, Ram Mandir and on the western side of the Pashupatinath temple.
According to officials at the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the number of devotees this year surged by 100,000 compared to last year. The number of devotees had increased last year as the April earthquake had killed around 9,000 people.
“Fear of an earthquake, coupled with fuel shortage had affected the mobility of people last year,” said Govinda Tandon, the member secretary at the PADT. “As things returned to normalcy, the number of devotees increased this year,” he added.
The scenes around the Pashupati area resembled the ones that of Shivaratri and Teej festivals. Long Torans (long decorative garlands) adorned the ghats along the Bagmati river with priests performing the rituals occupying every available space.
“There was a sea of people. It took me almost three hours to complete the ritual,” said Sabitra Timalsena, who came from Lamjung Durdada, to pay a homage to her deceased father-in-law. “I could not lit lights as it was hard to find a place at night,” she said.
However, Ram Krishna Mishra, 29, who came from Chitwan to peform the ritual in honour of his deceased father, had a better luck on that front.
He managed to find a place on the premises of the main temple. “It felt good,” he said, “I remained awake the whole night remembering my father, prayed for his departed soul.”