Shree Swasthani Brata Katha festival is a month long celebration devoted to goddess Shree Swasthani. It begins every year on the full moon day of Poush, the ninth month of the Nepali Bikram Sambhat calendar and ends on the full moon day of Magh, the following month.
Goddess Swasthani is a Hindu Goddess who is one of the Asta Matrika, or eight Goddesses of power. It is believed she fulfills the wishes of her devotees who observe the rituals of the festival devotedly.
Swasthani Brata Katha is a Hindu scripture narrated by Lord Kumar to Agasthya Muni that retells stories about the formation of the universe, miracles performed by Goddess Swasthani and tales of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.
Devotees throng to Sali Nadi or the Manohara River in Sankhu, for a holy bath on the first day of the festival. Women and men observing a fast during the lunar month, read one chapter a day from the scripture for the 31 days of the festival. An elaborate offering is prepared for the Goddess with 108 counts of incense sticks, sesame laddu, flowers each.
Some highlights of the festival in pictures: