Kanya Puja marked by worshiping little girls (in photos)

- Shreya Nepal, Banepa

Aug 17, 2017-The 115th edition of Kanya Puja, an annual tradition of worshiping pre-pubescent girls, was observed amidst fanfare in Banepa, Kavrepalanchok district on Monday. 

Around 8,000 young girls from Kavre and neighboring districts converged to be worshipped by devotees of the highly revered goddess Chandeswori. The Puja is conducted annually on the day of Krishna Astami.

Historian Jnan Kaji Manandhar said that it is the unparalleled faith of people in the powers of goddess Chandeswori that enables them to conduct this practice each year as they think the girls are a manifestation of the goddess.

Likewise, the prospect of gifts and blessings of good health brings girls flocking in from all over the region to take part in the religious tradition.

Young girls who have not had their first period yet are welcomed to attend the procession.

They were lined up at two sides of the city’s inner streets, extending up to two to three kilometers. Each girl is worshipped with vermillion, pampered with oil massage onto their scalp, given gifts, and made to feel like a real goddess.

The procession started with the worshipping of Lord Ganesh and a young boy representing lord Kumar after which the devotees moved on to worship the 8000 girls lined up from Bholakha Tol of Banepa all the way to Chardobato, then turns back to reach up to Layaku and finishes off at Bholakha tol again. This covers a distance of around four kilometers.

Devotees offered local dishes such as Swari, Sel, Malpuwa, and also noodles, biscuits, chocolates, money, clothes, etc to the girls. Traditional bands played Dhime Baaja, Manandhar Baaja, and Kushle Baaja, among others, marking the beginning of the Puja.

SurKrishna Baidhya, secretary of the Kanya Puja Organization committee, who has been inaugurating the event for more than 30 years, proudly said that there hasn't been a year since its inception that Banepa has failed to organise their annual Kanya Puja.

Prashima Awale, an engineering student studying in New Delhi, India, said she postponed her ticket back to college just to participate in the KanyaPuja. “I grew up either being worshipped as a Kumari, or worshipping other young girls as one. Postponing my ticket for a couple of days to participate in this year’s Kumar Puja is no surprise for my family.”

Prietee Gupta, a housewife who shifted to Banepa from Biratnagar only last year, said she doesn’t feel like an outsider when her five-year-old daughter is worshipped on this day. “At first I was hesitant to make my daughter participate because there were so many Newar community people taking part, but I and my daughter’s pleasant experience during last year’s Puja prompted me to bring her again this year to receive blessings and gifts” 

Photo Courtesy: Gautam Shakya

Published: 17-08-2017 15:20

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