Pancha Kanya - a group of five girls

Sunita Giri 11:08 PM |

Panchakanya is a group of five virgin girls who have not gone through the phase of monthly period cycle. They are regarded very auspicious to start any ceremony in Hindu tradition. Indeed, this believe comes from the hindu religion, according to which five is very auspicious number. There fore, people do take time to select the most beautiful young girls only, mostly under the age of ten.


The person who are in charge of the panchakanya takes very good care of this project and does every effort to make sure the girls are best looking. Not just good looking but they must have cheerful look also, at least the senior most housemother Kedar Shrestha, who was the in-charge of this picking up girls and then giving them full makeups along with proper dress ups and then preparing them for the big day. She had done this work for more than twenty years during her tenure in Bal Mandir. The five girls were selected for the ceremony not just based on the look only the other quality was also needed like  the winner of little beauty peasant long before the concept of little angel's or the princess pageants took place in my country. If can say so, panchakanya are the early version of such beauty peasants. They have to be well groomed and well dressed with the best of the manners.


For the occasion, they are given the best makeup to look even more prettier for the ceremony and they are dressed equally beautifully and mostly the color of the dress is red or pink to add more charm to the beauty of little girls. No wonder, they look like real angel, so not surprisingly they are most of the time, main attraction of the any big ceremony also. Kedar Shrestha, the housemother, was very careful to pick up young girls for her this small annual projects. She made sure they were well behaved girls with best of the manners not just in front of the royals but also when they were not around the royals or seniors. Oh yes, one of the much needed quality among the girls was, who can hold the pee for couple of hours without crying.  


One time I was also one of the girl in a group of five. It was my first time to be in the group of panchakanya. I never was the choice of house mother to be in this group. You guessed it right, I was not that beautiful child to be in that team of beautiful girls gang.


However, I was really happy that I too was part of a beautiful girl’s gang but the truth only known to the housemother. Did I forget it now, that one of the regular girl was sick or had some wounds in her body which filtered her from that years queen's birthday  ceremony ? Lets not go in that area and let me think and enjoy at this moment that there was a time I too was one of the hand picked girl of this groups. So, after all the makeup and dress up we were taken to the royal palace.


There was queen standing in front of the royal palace, ready to welcome all the visitors who used to come there to wish her on her birthday. We were escorted to her by the housemother, Kedar Shrestha, which she had done may be hundreds of times before and this was one work she could do even in her sleep. There was a small table in front of the queen, which must have been kept there to keep flowers and the gifts she receives from the visiting people. Panchakanya offers her mostly flowers only and it is one of the first thing she gets before she receive anyone on that day.


When a girl on the front row tried to offer her flower to the queen, she could not reach her easily to handover the flowers, so what the girl did was, put her right feet on the front table and then offered her the flower, the next girl copied the first girl. At that time, I was maybe on fourth or in fifth girl in that row of five girls and I too ended up making the same mistake as made by the first girl. When I reach at the front of the queen she had even pulled me slightly and shook me holding my arms not to put my legs on the side of a table. However, all the five girls made the same mistake that day.  


At this very moment the queen Aaishwarya did not say a word, because the mistake was made by a small girls, but as an in-charge of the Bal Mandir, Kedar Shrestha was nervous and she was trying to prevent us the next girl and the next girl not to make the same mistake which the first girl have made innocently. In my vague memory, I think there was a smile on the face of queen and a nervous smile on the face of housemother. I think that nervous smile was the feel of relief also.


When I look back and try to understand now, why she was so nervous about so small mistake - to my small world it was a small mistake. Why she was preventing young and innocent girls not to repeat the mistake again and again what's so big deal about it ? Its bit easy answer indeed, first she was unbelievably polite to us and we were too young to understand why. She was polite because, we were in front of the queen who was in front of the palace. Second, we were not used to of getting the ‘hints’ from such polite form of requesting. In Bal Mandir people just screamed up from the lungs to make us understand, if they wanted us to hear them. It was very rare, people made a point to make us hear them; without raising a voice.

But more than that, what is more important for me to understand now was that we were one of the very first to see queen and its believed when the starting is good the day will be good and when its bad the day will be bad and with the panchakanya some people also tagged the good and bad thing as its also the part from the hindu religion. So, it sure has to be the concept of, start great so that the ending will be great.  Sometimes there are people who believe in small small things rather than big things and that plays a big role in whole matter may be that is the reason the housemother was nervous and was trying her level best to stop us but we were  just too young to understand the superstition that adult hold in their mind and just ended up making the small and innocent mistake that made a huge difference in the mind of adults.

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