Celebrating eighty four years

Chaurasi puja or the ceremonial worship conducted during the age of 84 is one of the unique traditions of Nepal which raises the status of the person next to god and frees them from all kinds of social bounds and restrictions. When the puja is performed, the person is considered similar to the god. If the spouse of the person is alive, they are worshiped together or else, the single person is worshiped.

The ceremony lasts for three days with the main function taking place on the last day. On the very first day, a priest comes to home and asks the son to perform Nanyemukhi puja. This puja is performed to ensure the smooth functioning of the puja without any obstacles. It is conducted to please the dead ancestors, locally called Pitri.

On the second, four priests chant Rudri, a holy text and nothing particular takes place except this.

Third day is the major day when the main puja is performed. Eighty four ghadas (mud pots) are prepared for the worship. They are decorated with red and white clothes and each contains a flower and a fruit in it. Also, a cow is gifted to the priest and this ritual is known as Gaudaan. iIt is believed that doing so opens the path f heaven for the person. Also, lakh batti is lighted. People put tika and give gifts to the person celebrating eighty four years and take blessings from them in exchange.

Some of the pictures of Chaurasi puja are posted below:

Priests chanting Rudri, a day prior to the main ceremony.
(Photo: Anisha Bhattarai)

Daughters performing Chaurasi puja for their mother.

Son and daughter-in-law performing rituals for their mother’s Chaurasi puja.

Batuks (Brahmin boys who have already received their sacred thread or Janai) chants Vedas during the puja.

Making the holy offering into the the holy fire in Jagge (sacred aisle made for worship).

Eighty four water pots made of mud prepared for the Chaurasi puja.

Mother, son and daughter-in-law performing the ritual of Gaudaan, giving away a cow, during the mother’s Chaurasi puja. It is believed that this ceremony ensures one’s gateway to heaven.

Family members putting tika to the lady who reached eighty four years. On this day, everyone, be it elders or smaller members of the family, put tika to the person whose Chaurasi is being performed.

Guests offering gifts to the lady. People put tika and give gifts or cash to the person whose Chaurasi puja is being held.

Priests and Batuks  performing the puja by making offerings to the holy fire.

People circling the Lakh-batti lighted during the puja. Usually a Lakh-batti is lighted during some major ceremonies or pujas.

A little girl whose Guniu-choli was done in the same day putting tika on her great grandmother’s forehead. On this day, people of every age group gets a chance to offer tika to the person whose Chaurasi puja is performed.

Family members, the lady and all the priests and Batuks gathered around the Jagge to make the final holy offering. This ritual marks the end of the puja and the person, also known as Karta, offers tika and blessings to her family members.

The lady of the day offering tika and her blessing to her grand daughter-in-law. Receiving tika and blessing from the eighty four year old person on this day is considered to be auspicious. The ceremony concludes after the person offers tika and bless all her family members one by one.