Friday, March 25, 2011

Bhutandevi, the Goddess of forest

Every year in the month of April, Bisasaya Puja is organized with hundreds of devotees participating in it.
Amongst many famous religious and historical places in Makwanpur district, Bhutandevi Temple, located in the southwest part of Hetauda city is one of them. Every year in the month of April, Bisasaya Puja is organized with hundreds of devotees participating in it. At the very day of the Puja, one hundred and eight pigeons, fifteen he-goats, a she-goat, a pig, a duck, a cock and a buffalo are sacrificed to the deity. There is a custom of sacrificing one hundred and twenty eight animals and birds together. Likewise, on the fourth day of the Puja, seven pairs of pigeons are also sacrificed in the nearby jungle.
Hetauda and its name
The name of the city, Hetauda is related with the Devil of “Mahabharata” times. In Mahabharata period, this city was known as Hedamb-nagar because a monster named Hidambasur used to live here. According to the epic Mahabharata, the monster, Hidambasur had made a rule that at least a person should come to him to be sacrificed daily. Later on “Bhima” the son of “Pandu” came to this place during his exile in order to free the people from his grip. During this period he fell in love with Hedambasur’s sister, “Hedamba” and later on got married to her. As a result they gave a birth to a male baby, “Ghatotkach”, who became very strong and powerful soldier and killed many “Kauravas” in the battle of “Kurukshetra”. As the time passed the people started calling this place Hedamba and finally this name changed to Hetauda, which is now a famous industrial city of Nepal.
By: Rohit Pokharel
At the time of BADAHAKIM (the zonal officer appointed by the Rana regime during the Rana period), people used to come from Chisapani fort of Bhimphedi to participate in the Bisasaya Puja. But after the dismissal of BADAHAKIM, the Puja was continued by District Administration Office till 2045 BS on behalf of the Zonal Office. But the Puja was discontinued between 2046 BS to 2053 BS and again with the effort of holy local organization and some religious people, the Puja started from 2054 BS and is still on its way.
The name “Bhutandevi” is derived from “Bhatandevi”. The “Bhats” (soldiers) used to worship the deity of “Bandevi” (the goddess of forest) and so she was called “Bhatandevi” (i.e. the goddess of Bhats) and slowly the name was modified to “Bhutandevi” temple, which is now popular in fulfilling the wishes of the devotees.
The another remarkable feature of the temple is that the priest of the temple is from the Rai community, while in other regions of Nepal, the priests belong to Brahmin community (the top rated caste classified by the Hindu religion). In relation to the Rai priests (which is very rare in our country) the president of the Construction Committee of Bhutandevi Temple Mr. Purna Bahadur Shrestha says, “The ancestors of the “Rais” had been claiming their rights to worship the deity of goddess Bhutandevi, which is still in practice.”
The deity, Bhutandevi is mostly worshipped on Saturdays and during Dashain, (The greatest festival of Hindus that falls in the month of October). In these days the people from Hetauda and its neighboring villages come to worship with the faith of their whishes to be fulfilled.
Courtesy: The Rising Nepal

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