Kathmandu, November 22
People in Nepal offered lamps into the Bagmati River flowing by the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu on Bala Chaturdashi.
Bala Chaturdashi is celebrated in Nepal in memory of departed family members. People float oil lamps on the river which is believed to lighten the world of departed souls.
Devotees remain awake through the night camping on the edge of the Bagmati River while facing the Pashupatinath Temple.
Speaking to ANI, Ram Mani Chalise said, “It’s been three years since I lost my mother. I have been offering the lamps in her memory which is believed to give her salvation in her afterlife.”
Chalise added, “We stayed awake the whole night and now we are performing rituals. Flowers are offered on the river for the salvation of deceased souls and make them cross the rivers on their way to heaven.”
Rituals for Bala Chaturdashi festival start from Marga Krishna Trayodashi, the 13th day of the waning moon in the month of Mangsir (8th month according to the Nepali calendar).
People who observe this ritual keep a fast and eat only one meal. People avoid eating garlic, onions, fish, eggs and other food items on that day.
In the evening, people visit the Pashupatinath Temple or shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and chant hymns and prayers through the night.
People light ‘Akhanda Jyoti’ in the name of the departed familiy members. The next day, they take a bath and begin their journey around the Pashupatinath temple premises and spread seven kinds of grains along the way.
The grains include rice, barley, sesame, wheat, chickpeas, maize and foxtail millet.
Goma Neupane told ANI, “As we disperse the mixture of seven grains here, it is believed that departed souls would receive it in their after-life. Grains are dispersed on their name and we remain awake all night.”
The people walk along Kailash-Suryaghat-Gaurighat-Aryaghat-Guhyeshwari-Mrigasthali-Bishworup-Kirateshwar-108 Shivalinga.