Nauratha, nine holy nights
Nauratha refers to the nine holy nights that precedes Dashami during the festival of Dashain. During this period, the female member of the family, usually in Terai region keep fast for nine days straight. However, they do eat fruits and light snacks which could be considered chokho or pure. For the next nine days, starting from Ghatasthapana, they visit the Shakti Peethas, the temple of goddess Durga to worship her. Each day is dedicated to different forms of the goddess. On the eighth and ninth day, animals are sacrificed at various different temples of the goddess. Adults, senior citizens and kids, all come to the temples, at least one day, during the festival. It is celebrated with much enthusiasm in Terai region than in hills as the tradition has been adopted from various communities in India, up to certain level. The temples are decorated with colorful papers and lights. Images of the goddess killing the demon are erected at various temple premises. Also, a fair is held on the temple premises or a open field where the image of the goddess made out of mud is erected.
Here are some pictures of Nauratha.
All Photos: Anisha Bhattarai