Concord family hosts 8-day event of prayer and meditation to honor ancestors

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  • Buddah Adhikari from Ohio dips into the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony.. 

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel (second from right) and Chudamuni Adhikari from Ohio (center) lead a group of celebrants from different families during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel (left) joins different families during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chudamuni Adhikari from Ohio (right)) and Yam Timsina walk along a path near the Merrimack River to join the other families for the ceremony on Tuesday, Septemeber 28, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel lead a group of celebrants from different families during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Women dip into the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Durga Subedi from Ohio makes an flower offering during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan, or ritual bath, on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for a weeklong ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Participants move into the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel (second from right) and Chudamuni Adhikari from Ohio (center) lead a group of celebrants from different families during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Participants wade into the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan, or ritual bath, in the Merrimack River on Tuesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel reaches for water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Participants splash the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel (second from right) and Chudamuni Adhikari from Ohio (center) lead a group of celebrants from different families during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chudamuni Adhikari from Ohio leads a prayer on the shoreline during the cleansing ritual on the shore of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel splashes in the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • LEFT: Chudamuni Adhikari of Ohio chats with Bill Parker and Casey Lynch of Concord on his way to the ritual.

  • Participants walk along the Merrimack River near the Sewells Falls bridge looking for the best spot to hold the cleansing ritual on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Offerings are placed by the shore of the Merrimack River during the ceremony on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • FAR LEFT: Chhaya Devi Poudel prays during the Hindu purification ceremony.

  • Participants walk along a path near the Merrimack River to the ceremony site on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chudamuni Adhikari from Iowa prays over the offerings during the cleansing ritual.

  • Participants make offerings on the shore line of the Merrimack River during the cleansing ceremony on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • ABOVE: Yam Timsina, assistant high priest for the ceremony, is all smiles.

  • Chudamuni Adhikari from Ohio makes an offering during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel prays as she wades into the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious ceremony. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chhaya Devi Poudel prays as she wades into the water during the Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan or ritual bath on the shores of the Merrimack River on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Relatives of Concord’s Adhikari family from around the country gathered for the weeklong religious event. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chudamuni Adhikari of Ohio walks along the Merrimack River to find a good spot for the ceremony on Tuesday, Septemeber 28, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Published: 10/2/2021 4:00:16 PM

The water of the Merrimack River came alive last week during a Hindu purification ceremony called Tirtha Snan, or ritual bath.

The visit to the river at the Sewalls Falls Multi-Use Recreation Area on Tuesday marked the start of an eight-day event of meditation and prayer to honor the ancestors of the Adhikari family of Concord.

It’s a special, rare religious ceremony that families hold just once every few generations, and Surya Adhikari has been planning it for years. The last time Adhikari’s family performed the ceremony was before he was born, he said.

More than a dozen family members and multiple spiritual leaders walked through the woods to the river’s edge wearing brightly colored coverings. They splashed water over themselves as they quietly prayed and exchanged blessings for more than an hour before returning home for more reflection.

The family continued to host relatives from around the country in their home throughout the week and brought in five Hindu priests for the occasion, including renowned religious leaders from Pennsylvania and Ohio, to perform the rituals.

Adhikari said any neighbors who are curious about what’s going on are welcome to stop by his South End home and visit during the week the event is going on. Although he will be preoccupied with meditation, he said there will be others on hand to welcome English-speaking visitors. The Monitor featured the ceremony when it was in its planning stages in July.


Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.



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