The three holy dates in the life of the Buddha, the apostle of peace, lies in the month of Baishakh as per Nepali Calendar also known as Bikram Era. The Buddha was born at Lumbini, Western Nepal some 2,600 years ago on the full Moon day of Baishak month, he got enlightenment and also attained Mahanirvana or abandoned the physical body on the same day. Therefore, the period between the full Moon day of Baishakh and full Moon day of Jesth, known as Saga Dawa in Tibetan language is considered holy month.
The Buddhist devotees gather at centuries old Bouddhanath and Swoyabhunath Stupas in Kathmandu on the whole month for prayer. They worship Lord Buddha by offering flowers, water and lighting incense and traditional ghee lamp. The devotees do not eat meat and fish during the month long festival. Some devotees offer prayer to the Buddha by circumambulating the stupa stooping down for full body salutation to the Buddha at both Swoyambhunath and Bouddhanath Stupas.
The purpose of the prayer is to wash away one’s past sins, wishing for long life and good health for the family members as well as to attain liberation, as per the Buddhist tradition. There was a huge crowd at Bouddhanath Stupa on Saturday the eve of Jestha full Moon day, a day before the end of the month long festival.