Ghatasthapana is a practice that takes part during the 9-day Navratri festival and during the 15-day Dashain festival. The latter festival takes place in neighbouring Nepal and parts of Burma, besides in northern India.
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Ghatasthapana is a ritual in which a ritual pot called a kalasha, is filled up with “holy water”. The pot is also coated with cow’s dung and sown in barley seeds. The pot is then placed in a sand pit, which itself is sown with seeds. Priests bless the pot, and it is believed by Hindus that a goddess takes up residence in it during the festival.
From the day of Ghatasthapana and throughout the overall festival, the kalash will be worshiped two times every day in a special room where it is kept. In the past, only a male member of the family would be allowed to enter the room where the kalash is kept, but nowadays, women also take part.
More holy water is added to the kalash each day, and it is kept out of the light. This leads to a long, yellowish grass growing during the festival, called “jamara”.
While many of the celebrations associated with Ghatasthapana are private, they are kept throughout much of India. And it is a time of general celebration and Hindu religious devotion.