Shrawan sends women to Shiva temples by hordes
By Ajita Rijal
Kathmandu, July 30: The Nepali month of Shrawan is considered sacred to the Hindus around the world. On this day, women take fasting and worship Lord Shiva to fulfill their wishes.
The long queue of fasting women at Pashupatinath Temple from morning to the scorching heat in the afternoon till evening proves the unflinching trust of people on Lord Shiva.
However, there is a debate whether fasting and visiting temples can fulfill ones’ wishes. A few do not believe fulfillment of anything just by staying empty stomach.
Instead, they argue empty stomach only gives your health issues such as gastroenteritis, while others say it’s just superstitious beliefs.
However, scientifically, fasting does have health benefits, said Dr. Uma Koirala, a nutritionist. “Fasting is a discipline, intake of mild food, cleansing out the whole body,” said Dr Koirala.
Fasting with empty stomach may lead to gastro problem, but if you fast with pure and mild foods it will help keep your body fit.
If you are fasting, Dr. Koirala, suggests consuming low-fat curd, salads and seasonal fruits and vegetables to keep high energy levels.
People should be vegetarian during Shrawan, a month of monsoon, as the immune system gets very weak during this season, said Dr Koirala. “Due to fasting, there will be less chance of getting infected by the food and water- borne diseases.”
So avoiding non-veg foods and other spicy and oily foods is a good choice, says Dr. Koirala, advising drinking plenty of water during the fasting.
“I only eat fruits and some fresh juice because we need to eat only pure food during fasting,” said Goma Sapkota, 24, who is from Nawalparasi and was visiting Pashupatinath temple on Monday.
“Our grandmother used to cook colocasia, known as karkalo, and rice at the evening during her fasting day, and now we continue the same,” said Mina Bhandari, 33, of Kathmandu.
According to Dr Koirala, colocasia, is pure and it has nutritious values with high levels of vitamins, so eating rice with colocasia during fasting is healthy.
“Our family is avoiding non-vegetarian food during the month of Shrawan every year,” said Bhandari,
adding that it helped keep us healthy and sacred.
Many girls and women also decorate their wrists with tri-coloured beads and palms with different designs of mehendi or henna painting. Decorating hands with pure henna leaves has also health benefits, said Dr Koirala, but the henna with various chemicals leads to health hazards.
Shrawan, the fourth month in the lunar calendar, is a month devoted to Lord Shiva. Many married and unmarried females fast every Monday this month. They get up early in the morning and worship Lord Shiva, chanting mantras for prosperous and happy life. Every individual pray for prosperous life during fasting.
The mythology is that fasting and worshipping will bring good to the loved ones and fulfill wishes. Women are seen wearing red and green during the Shrawan. Mondays of Shrawan are even more revered by Hindus.
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