Published at : January 29, 2020
Updated at : January 29, 2020 16:27
Saraswati Puja, also known as Basanta Panchami or Shree Panchami, is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the waxing moon of the Nepali month of Magh.
The festival is observed by worshipping Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, wisdom, learning, art, music and culture.
In Nepal, Hindus and people from the Sikh communities observe this festival. The festival also marks the arrival of the spring season.
On this day, schools and colleges organise pujas to pay homage to the goddess of knowledge. Students participate in huge numbers by starting the day with a ritual bath in the morning, followed by a day-long fast.
As the whole country will be celebrating Saraswati Puja tomorrow, these photos, captured by US Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s and 70s, show Nepalis celebrating it at a different period in history. People watch Saraswati Puja procession in Birgunj in 1968. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpAzad High School in Banepa is decorated for Saraswati Puja circa 1966-1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpThe Saraswati Puja cart of Tri Juddha High School is on its way to a nearby river for immersion in Birgunj in 1968. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace Corp Musicians, security personnel take part in the Saraswati puja procession in Myanglung bazaar in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpStudents parade Myanglung bazar during Saraswati Puja celebrations in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpAn idol of goddess Saraswati inside the main hall of Tri Juddha High School in 1968. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpStudents and teachers participate in Saraswati puja procession in the Myanglung bazaar in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA view of beautified Tri Juddha High School in Birgunj for Saraswati Puja in 1968. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace Corp A woman worships goddess Saraswati in Myanglung bazaar, Terathum, during the procession of the festival in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpStudents carrying a statue of Saraswati, participate in a religious procession as part of Saraswati Puja celebration in Siraha in 1971. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA cart with the idol of goddess Saraswati made by the Tri Juddha High School for Saraswati Puja is carried for immersion in a nearby river in 1968. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpStudents of Multi-Purpose High School in Pokhara celebrate Saraswati Puja in 1963. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpDevotees immerse a statue of goddess Saraswati at a pond in Siraha in 1971. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace Corp Students of a school in Beni, Myagdi, carry out a procession on Shree Panchami in 1966. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA Saraswati puja procession of Multi-Purpose High School students passes through a bazaar in Pokhara in 1963. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpLocals, including children, parade a statue of Goddess Saraswati in Siraha in 1971. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace Corp
This photo essay is part of our Once Upon a Time series, featuring photographs taken by US Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s and 70s.
To see more photo essays in the series, visit tkpo.st/eka-deshma