The crowd of women devotees in Pashupatinath temple on the occassion of Teej and group of police deployed to manage the event safely. (Photo:Bishal Shrestha, SATV)
Hartaalika Teej, a three day festival of Lord Shiv is being celebrated all around Nepal with great enthusiasm by hindu women today. It is primarily a women's festival celebrated on the third day of the bright lunar fortnight or Tritiya Tithi of Shukla Paksha.
Legend of Haritalika Teej
The name "Hartalika" is composed of the words "harát" meaning abduction and "alika", meaning female acquaintance. It marks the occasion when Parvati encouraged her friends to kidnap her to escape the marriage with Lord Vishnu after her father Himalaya wanted to gave her hand in marriage to him.
Parbati who was in love with Shiva, on the third day of the bright half of Bhadrapud, made a shiva lingam out of sand and silt of Ganga and prayed. Shiva was so impressed that he gave his word to marry Parvati. Eventually, Parvati was united with Shiva and was married to him with her father's blessing. Since then, the day is referred to as Hartalika Teej as Parvati's female (aalika) friend had to abduct (harit) her in order for the goddess to achieve her goal of marrying Shiva.
The festival celebrated in order to pray Shiva and be blessed with an understanding husband like Shiva himself, women fast for whole day to please lord Shiva with their dedication.
Draped in significant color red, today women visit temples of lord Shiva which has crowded the ground of Pashupatinath temple from early morning today in Gaushala.
A huge number of devotees in red saree, young and old, dancing and singing together with great enthusiasm made the periphery of Pashupatinath more vibrant and lively.
Women prepare for this day a day earlier by eating dar, consuming energy giving foods to last the whole day of Teej without even having a single drop of water. They spend the whole day singings bhajans of shiva and dancing in Teej songs.
Various Red Cross and other organizations have been deployed in Pashupatinath temple today to treat those who need check-up. Many organizations were distributing free drinking water to the devotees standing in long queues in the hot sun to pray Bholenath. Also, some organizations had not only provided water and juice for the devotees who came there, but also arranged a place to play songs and dance.