August 17, 2017
Public in and around Banepa, Kavrepalanchok District celebrated the 115th edition of Kanya Puja, an annual tradition of worshipping pre-pubescent girls, on August 14, 2017.
Kanya Puja, annually observed on the day of Krishna Janmastami, this year witnessed a participation of 8000 young girls from Kavre and other neighboring districts.
As the traditional bands played Dhime Baaja, Kushle Baaja and Manandhar Baaja, among others marked the beginning of the Puja, devotees started with worshipping of Lord Ganesha and a young boy representing Lord Kumar.
Then, devotees went on to worship the girls in queues from Bholakha Tol of Banepa to Chardobato, covering a total distance of 4 kms.
As part of the festival, devotees of Goddess Chandeswori worship young girls treating them as manifestation of the goddess. Every girl is worshipped with vermillion, pampered with oil massage on the scalp and is offered gifts and delicious dishes.
Gifts and blessings form the interesting aspects of the festival. Devotees offered local dishes such as malpuwa and noodles, swari, sel, biscuits, chocolates, money, clothes, among others to the girls.
According to the Historian Jnan Kaji Manandhar, this festival is an 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.
People of various sections expressed their love for the festival.
Secretary of the Kanya Puja Organization Committee SurKrishna Baidhya, who has been inaugurating the event for more than 30 years, said Banepa has never failed to organize this annual festival since its inception.
Prashima Awale, an engineering student studying in New Delhi, India said, “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.”
“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,” said Prietee Gupta, a housewife who shifted to Banepa from Biratnagar last year.