Nepal’s most revered festival, Dashain, kicked off with great fervor and enthusiasm on Sunday, marked by the traditional ceremony of Ghatasthapana, where Hindus across the nation sowed seeds for jamara in their homes and temples.
Ghatasthapana, an integral part of the festival, began with households diligently cleaning and decorating their homes at the break of dawn. The word Ghatasthapana translates to “setting up the pot,” where ‘Ghata’ signifies a pot and ‘sthapana’ refers to the act of establishing. This auspicious day also involves the worship of Hindu god Ganesh. Kalasha, a vessel filled with holy water, and diyo, an oil-fed lamp, are placed at an altar specially dedicated for this sacred ritual before offering prayers.
Dashain, spanning fifteen days, is dedicated to the veneration of Durga, the goddess of power, and signifies the victory of good over evil.
A unique aspect of the festival’s religious tradition is the act of bringing sand from the river and sowing barley seeds mixed with wheat and corn. These seeds, sown at the goddess Durga’s altar, are watered daily, leading to the growth of vibrant yellow grass known as jamara.
The pinnacle of Dashain arrives on the tenth day, when the sacred jamara is offered to younger family members and others as blessings from Durga. This involves applying tika, a mixture of rice, vermillion powder, and yogurt, on the forehead. People traditionally visit their elder relatives and individuals they deeply respect to seek blessings and tika until Kojagrat Purnima, the festival’s fifteenth and final day.
In keeping with tradition, the Dashian Ghar in Hamumandhoka, Kathmandu, witnessed the sowing of jamara during a special ceremony. The timing, 11:29 am, was considered particularly auspicious for observing Ghatasthapana this year.
As Dashain unfolds, Nepal’s vibrant culture and rich traditions are on full display, fostering a sense of unity and spiritual renewal among its people.