Hindu women across the nation are celebrating the Haritalika Teej festival with zeal and zest on Wednesday.
The day falls on the third day of Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) in the month of Bhadra.
Women celebrate the festival by fasting, singing, dancing and offering prayers to Lord Shiva. The festival also marks the union of Shiva and Parbati.
The festival is a three-day-long celebration which combines gatherings‚ singing‚ dancing, eating Dar and rigid fasting.
The first day of Teej is called Dar Khane Din.
Swastani Bratakatha explains that Godess Parvati did not consume anything except for a banana and water a night before fasting. Following the same tradition‚ women today make delicious food items and eat them in the middle of the night with other family members to mark the Dar Khane Din.
The second day is the fasting day. Women spend the day without a morsel of food and a drop of water. The fasting is observed by both married and unmarried women.
Married Hindu women pray for marital bliss along with well-being and prosperity of their spouse while unmarried pray to the deity in the hope of getting ideal husband in future. The festival also marks the purification of their body.
The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami. Women pay homage to seven saints or sages and offer praying to various deities and bath with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan bush, along with its leaves. This act of purification is the final ritual of Teej.
Women clad in red sari, bangles, mehendi and ornaments throng Shiva temples, especially Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, to offer prayers.
The Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has said that different routes have been arranged to facilitate the devotees in view of the festival.
Member Secretary of the PADT, Dr Govinda Tandan, said that the first route begins from Bankali leading to the temple via the Dakhin Dhoka whereas the second one starts from Jaya Bageshawari and leads towards the west to the temple.
Likewise, the third route starts from Mitrapark, Gaurighat, leading to the temple via Rudragadeshower towards the north to the temple.
Coordinator of the Teej Festival Management Committee, Babita Poudel, said that the devotees can visit the shrine and worship within half an hour despite the long queues of the worshippers. She said that all four doors of the Pashupatinath Temple were opened from 4:00 am today.
According to the Hindu mythology‚ Goddess Parvati fell in love with Lord Shiva. She wanted him as her life partner. Parvati then fasted and prayed for Shiva. She did not drink even a single drop of water. Pleased by her devotion‚ Shiva granted her wish and finally Parvati was able to get him as her spouse.