Fulpati or Phoolpati is observed on the seventh day of Dashain Festival and is also called Maha Saptami. “Phool” means flower and “Pati” means leaves hence the rites are conducted on this day by offering variety of flowers and leaves.
Fulpati is the assortments of 9 sacred plants’ shoots or leaves i.e Rice, Banana, Turmeric, pomegranate tree, wood apple leaves (Bel) tree, Ashok tree, Ginger plant, Jayanti, and Manabriksha tree. They are brought into the Dashain Ghar and worshipped along Jamara sown on Ghatasthapana Day. All these sacred plants together are called Navapatrika, where Nava means nine and Patrika means leaves in Sanskrit.
What is the significance of Navapatrika?
According to the mythological belief, Navapatrika represents nine forms of Goddess Bhagawati collectively called Nava Durga namely Brahmani, Rakta Dantika, Lakshmi, Durga, Chamunda, Kalika, Parbati, Shokaharini, and Karthiki Devi.
Below is the significance of each goddess related to each of the Navapatrikas is mentioned below:
- Goddess Brahmani, a symbol of peace is represented by a Banana Plant (Kera ko Bot).
- Goddess Rakta Dantika, a symbol of fertility for women is represented by Pomegranate. (Anaar)
- Goddess Lakshmi, a symbol of wealth and prosperity is represented by a Rice Stalk (Dhanko bala).
- Goddess Durga, a symbol of an outing end to obstacles for everyone is represented by a Turmeric plant (haledo).
- Goddess Kalika, a symbol of power is represented by a Ginger Plant (Aduwa).
- Goddess Parbati, a symbol of strength is represented by an Apple Plant (bel).
- Goddess Sokarahita, a symbol of relief from all kinds of suffering is represented by Ashok tree.
- Goddess Chamunda, a symbol of an end to all the evils is represented by a Manabriksha tree.
- Goddess Karthiki Devi, a symbol of luck is represented by Jayanti (Jamara).
Anointed Navapatrika is brought into a puja kotha (shrine room) of the Dashain Ghar at any time of the Fultpati day. Which is then immersed in a holy river on the Vijaya Dashami day, the 10th day of Dashain. Optionally there is also a tradition of immersing the Navapatrika with Jamara shoots on the Purnima (full moon day), which is the last day of the Dashain.
People bring Navapatrika home with the belief of inviting Nava Durgas too with it.
How did the tradition of Fulpati start?
The tradition of bringing flowers from the Dashain Ghar of the Gorakhkali temple of then Gorkha Kingdome to the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar in Kathmandu started after the Nepal unification by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in the 1700s. After the king conquered the Kathmandu Valley in 1825 BS and made it the capital city of his new Nation on Indra Jatra Day, he brought Fulpati from his family palace in Gorkha to his new palace, the Hanuman Dhoka Palace in Kathmandu on the occasion of the Hindu’s biggest festival Dashain.
Although Nepal is now a secular country for more than a decade the tradition of “Fulpati” set by the Shah King is still in practice.
How is Fulpati celebrated in Hanaumandhoka and all across Nepal?
The priests of the Gorakhkali temple at Gorkha Durbar, Kalsheni, Mangaleni, and Bhitriya Susare prepare the Navapatrika. to bring them to Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
Customarily six people of the Magar caste from Gorkha and priests carry Phulpati on a beautifully decorated palanquin to Jeevanpur of Dhading district. Fulpati is then handed over to six Brahmins fo Jeevanpur who carry covering the distance from Jeevanpur to the place called Jamal in Kathmandu. High-ranking civil servants, Gurjyu Paltan, musicians playing Panche baja, etc lead the Fulpati Procession from Jamal to the Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
Gurujyu Paltan plays Baja-Gaja (Musical instrument) and perform special dance and music to herald the arrival of Fulpati from Gorkha. The auspicious Fulpati is then anointed at the Dashaighar at the Hanumandhoka Durbar following the Vedic rites while Gurujyu Paltan fire traditional Flintlock Muskets salutations.
The Nepalese Army organizes “Fulpati Badhai” event at Tudikhel. During this event, the Nepalese Army performs parades and fire cannons and guns. The President of Nepal graces the event along with the Prime Minister, political dignitaries, Army, and Police high officers.