KATHMANDU – Thousands of Hindu devotees fasted in Nepal on Monday to please the god Shiva, a practice which is repeated every Monday during the holy month of Shrawan – from mid-July to mid-August – so that their wishes may be fulfilled.
The devotees also visited the major temples of Shiva, who is believed to have the power of granting a dream spouse to single people or giving prosperity to those already married.
“I keep fasting every Monday in Shrawan for the prosperity and health of my family,” Sumitra Neupane, 42, told EFE.
Neupane, as is the custom among women, will also wear green bangles, beads and apply intricate henna designs – especially on her arms – during this month.
The Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu was one of the most visited since Monday morning, where more than 250,000 devotees were expected to visit, a member of the temple’s managing authority, Govinda Tondon, said to EFE.
The temples of Baba Dham in Cahatara, Halesi, Bageshwari and Kakre Bihar are also among the sacred shrines visited this month by Hindus, who form nearly 80 percent of the country’s population of 27 million.
Another practice during the month of Shrawan involves devotees dressed in saffron (symbolizing purity and renunciation), making a pilgrimage to Shiva temples carrying water from sacred rivers.
Hindus believe that with this ritual, if the water – carried in small pots – does not touch the ground during the journey, all their sins are forgiven due to the power and benevolence of Shiva, the god of creation and destruction.