Saraswati is defined as the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom. In Hinduism, Goddess Saraswati has been exemplified as a symbol of inspiration.
Saraswati Puja is celebrated every year in the Hindu culture as an occasion of worshipping and paying homage to her holiness Saraswati. This festival is observed all over the country with beautiful exuberance.
Educational institutions and temples are decorated in bright vibrant colors, flowers and lights. This year too, we set out along with our interns on a quest to witness pure Nepalese faith all around the city.
We had planned to tour a few, most sacred sites within Kathmandu where people would stand on a queue all day to pay homage to Goddess Saraswati. Temples were groomed with fresh flowers and garlands, with priests and temple caretakers all lined up for some head-over-heels work. On this day, little children are encouraged at writing their first words on the walls of a temple, symbolizing the optimism that Goddess Saraswati thereafter resides in their tender hands. These writings are carved with chalks and inks, and the walls get engulfed by such wishes. Chants and prayers of pilgrims could be heard to a distance. The worshippers submit their offerings to Goddess Saraswati in hopes that their wishes get fulfilled. Students were fascinated to find such vividness in Nepalese culture.
Also considered a suitable wedding date, this day saw numerous such occasions. We took our students to one of the most centric pilgrimage sites in Kathmandu, the Bhadrakali Temple, where fortunately a wedding ceremony was indeed taking place. There were people gathered to observe the occasion in holy matrimony. We couldn’t help prying in; it doesn’t happen everyday that foreign people get to get enticed by Nepalese culture. So our students lined up for some exotic camerawork and the output was nonetheless effective! They got to witness the strange yet very provocative wedding ritual that Hindus go through.
Our program coordinator helped students go along with the wedding rituals as he provided them brief layouts on how each activity in the matrimony symbolizes and strengthens a bond of love, faith, commitment and trust between a couple ready to spend the rest of their lives together.
Report By: Rajat Acharya