Wed, 20 Mar, 2019

Dashain On Our Doorsteps: Ghatasthapana

By Prakriti Shree Tuladhar

This year, Ghatasthapana fell on the 1st of October - a Saturday. And after the morning rituals, people had their whole day free. And yes, they took full advantage of it! In every Dashain, everyone chooses to buy everything one needs and also many other things one doesn’t need. And since this Ghatasthapana was on a Saturday, even the people that don’t normally have holidays on the first day of Dashain got one. Hence, everyone thought that this day would be the ideal day to go outside.   Today afternoon, I found myself on the streets of Kamalachi. It was around noon but, it was too hot. I had brought an umbrella, who hadn’t? But none of us were actually using the umbrella. Why? Because there are no space for an umbrella at all. No one could open an umbrella without poking a person in front or beside oneself.  And like the kind and understanding people most of us are, we chose not to open our umbrellas; least we accidentally poke someone in the eye. There was no space to open an umbrella but was there space to walk you ask? Of course, there was. But we barely had to walk. The motion of the crowd pushed us in any direction we wanted. All we had to do was navigate the walk-able spaces on the road between the crowded road–shops (not roadside shops as these shops were actually on the road). But the people walking were not alone. There was the occasional motorcyclist who was brave enough to attempt to cross through Kamalachi.  And of course, there was the random cow for whom we all had to make way. But when many-many happy and grumpy people, questionable, inconsiderate and hard-working shopkeepers and insane bargains and the feeling of festivity are mingled together on the road, it does feels like Dashain has come again after a whole year. Ghatasthapana is the first day of Dashain. And like previous years, it is celebrated in almost an identical way in all households. Each family plants Jamara, a holy plant, in a mud vessel and puts it in the Puja room. The vessel is filled with sand and grains of wheat, barley and other grains and plenty of water is poured into it. Then it is covered with another vessel and kept safely in the Puja room for ten days. On the 10th day, which is the Vijaya Dashami, the grown Jamara is taken out and offered to family and relatives with tika and blessings. Image: Abhishek Khatiwada