KATHMANDU – Gai or Cow puja, Goru Puja or ox worship and Govardan Puja are being observed throughout the country today on the fourth day of the five-day-long Tihar festival celebrated by Hindus in the country.
The cow is worshipped as per the religious belief that we get love from her like a mother. The cow’s milk, urine and dung are all sacred, hence the cow is worshipped, said Nepal Calendar Determination Committee Chair Prof Dr Ram Chandra Gautam.
Today’s day is locally called Gai Tihar. The cow is garlanded and fed various delicacies. Meanwhile, Govardhan Puja rituals are being observed today with replicas of the Govardhan Mountain made out of cow dung. People prepare a mixture of the cow dung and ochre formed into a paste and apply on the courtyard of their homes and on the floors today.
The rituals are linked to the Hindu God Sri Krishna who, according to legends, lifted the Govardhan Mountain by his hand and protected the people of a place called Gokul from torrential rains caused by Indra, the God of rain.
It is believed that the rain God was angered and thereby caused the heavy downpour. Similarly, the ox is also worshipped today as it is a very useful animal in different agricultural works in Nepal which is a predominantly agricultural society.
Similarly, Mha Puja is celebrated on the fourth day of Tihar by Newar Community. It also falls on the Newari New Year which is based in the Newar calendar, Nepal Sambat. Mha Puja literally refers to self-worship, making offering to one’s body.