Nepal's greatest festival Dashain begins today

Ghatasthapana: the first day of Dashain

  •   2017-09-21  |  nepaltraveller.com

The first day of Nepal's largest and most celebrated Hindu festival, Dashain kicks off with Ghatasthapana when seeds of barley are sown

Nepal’s biggest and longest festival starts today. Ghatasthapana, is the first day of Dashain where people welcome the festival with open arms performing puja and setting up kalash(pot), on which they sow seeds of barley at homes and temples as per Vedic custom.

dashain, jamara, ghatasthapana

On this day, the pot which symbolises goddess Durga is filled with holy water and covered with cow dung on to which seeds is spread to decorate it. These seedlings are called jamara which is offered alongside tika on the tenth day. Ghatasthapana is the vital day of Vijaya Dashami. Ghata signifies "pot or vessel" and sthapana signifies "to set up". Joining the two words the strict significance is to build up a pot. In 10 days the seed will grow into a jamara which is offered alongside tika on the tenth day.

dashain, kalash, jamara, puja

People also gather sand from river bank which is spread across the Dashain Ghar (prayer room) to plant the same seed planted on the pot. Both the pot and the sand bed in the prayer room is watered every day. The priest then chants mantras, requesting goddess Durga to reside in the prayer room for the next 10 days. A light with sesame oil is lit and should be lit all day for the next 10 days where the chandi mantra is recited in the name of goddess Durga Bhawani until Dashami.

durga, bagalamukhi, dashain, puja

Some people plant seven types of grains like barely, wheat Maize, sesame seed etc. and others just plant Barley and sesame seeds.  Mantras dedicated to Lord Varun and goddess Durga are chanted and pictures of Goddess Durga are kept nearby. There is also a tradition of setting up Durga Yantras close to a picture of goddess Durga.

The mantras that are chanted during puja vary from region to region. Some people select for simple Goddess Durga mantras while some opt for the vast ones. Generally people read Chandi or Durga Kavach during the 9 days of Devi worships.

Shashwat Pant is a content writer at Nepal Traveller.