The women in the WAWCAS program run their own businesses back in their home villages. But this year in the month of November four women decided to expand for one day as the festival of Bala Chaturdashi took place at Pashupatinath Temple near Kathmandu.
Parbati BK, Dilli Kumari Adhikari, Sumitra Khadka and Ganga Maya BK are all members of WAWCAS. A while ago they decided to open a shop during the festival of Bala Chaturdashi at Pashupatinath. They saw it as a great opportunity to earn more money because plenty of people would come to celebrate the festival. In other words, it was an opportunity not to be missed.
On the day for Bala Chaturdashi the four women went to Pashupatinath with their wares. Parbati with all different varieties of fruits and peanuts, Dilli and Sumitra with small tea items and last but not least Ganga with chest guards and belts.
At 2PM the same day they were back with smiling cheerful faces and good energy. Parbati had invested 17,000 rupees that day to buy fruit and peanuts and came back with 24,000 rupees. Dilli and Sumitra had invested 4,500 rupees and earned 6,500, while Ganga had invested 4,400 rupees and got home with 6,000. And they didn’t just earn money. They also celebrated the Bala Chaturdashi while selling their stuff.
It is a huge step for these women to move their business from their local area to another place, because it means that they see new possibilities and dare to seize them. Their business instinct is clearly growing – and they are growing as persons as well.
What is Bala Chaturdashi?
The festival of Bala Chaturdashi is a celebration that is held at Pashupatinath Temple every year in late November or early December. People from various places of Nepal and Hindus from other South Asian countries gather at the temple, which is considered to be the most sacred temple of lord Shiva (Pashupati) in Nepal. The participants light traditional oil lamps (diyo) which burn all night while the pilgrims chant and dance paying homage to Shiva.
The next day at daybreak the worshippers go to the holy Baghmati River for ritual bathing. Baghmati flows through the Katmandu Valley and has a lot of different Hindu temples located on its banks. It is considered to be a most holy river by both Hindus and Buddhists and taking a dip into it three times is considered a path to purification.
After bathing the pilgrims visit and worship almost every shrine of the Pashupatinath Temple. The festival then ends by the pilgrims following an old path starting at the temple, passing through the Kailash forest and finally returning to the temple. As the pilgrims follow the path they drop seeds in remembrance of their dead beloved ones. It is believed that by performing the Bala Chaturdashi rituals, you can secure a better place in heaven for dead relatives. And it is also believed that it helps settle restless souls of departed ones, who were not properly burned.