24 October 2020, Kathmandu
Maha Astami, the eighth day of the 10-day Dashain festival, is being observed today, worshipping Goddess Durga Bhawani.
On this day, people, specifically the Hindus, offer special worships to the goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Maha Saraswati. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Durga attains power and becomes more powerful.
People visit various Dashain Ghars and armories to perform puja and offer animal sacrifices. There is a special recital of Durga Saptashi and Devi strota among others scriptures.
People also worship the weapon, vehicle and machines on this day. According to our holy scriptures, by ritually performing puja in the temple of Goddess and making animal sacrifices to Goddess Durga, human will not reincarnate as animals and will be reborn as a supreme living being, said Chairperson at the Nepal Calendar
Determination Committee, Prof Dr Ramchandra Gautam.
Devotees would visit the Goddess Durga’s temples across the country and pay homage. It is believed by worshipping the Goddess, one is blessed with his/her wishes. But this year, Maha Astami celebration would be somehow different as almost all temples across the country have remained closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The temple of Goddess Durga as Dakshinkali, Guheshowri, Kalikasthan, Maitidevi, Naxal Bhagawati, Bhadrakali, Naradevi, Bijeshwori among others in the Kathmandu Valley have remained closed for public due to the risk of COVID-19.
The Gorakhkali and Manakamana Temple in Gorkha district, Pathivara in Taplejung, Chhinamasta in Saptari, Gahawamai in Birgunj, Parsa; Gadhimai in Bara, Nuwakot Bhairabhi in Nuwakot, Shaileshwori in Doti, Palanchok Bhagawati in Kavrepalanchowk; Nala Bhagawati, Chandeshwari in Banepa, Kavrepalanchowk, Bindhyabasini in Pokhara, Kalika Bhagawati in Baglung, Dantakali in Dharan, Sunsari; Ugratara in Dadeldhura, Siddhakali in Bhojpur, Shaileshwari and other temples would also remain closed for the public.
However, the daily worship and special worship in these temples on Maha Astami would be continued by the priests.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued a circular to all the 77 district administration offices not to allow the opening of the temples and shrines for the public because of the growing cases of COVID-19 and the heightening chances of infection.