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Nepalese women bathe for Swasthani festival

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Devotees stand on the banks of the Bagmati River during the Swasthani Bratakatha festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Jan. 23, 2012. The month-long festival dedicated to Goddess Swasthani, involves the recitation of folk tales about miraculous feats performed by her in almost every Hindu household.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

A devotee smiles while speaking with her friends after taking a holy bath in the Bagmati river at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu on Jan. 23, 2012.

Narendra Shrestha / EPA

Women pray before taking a mass holy bath in the Bagmati river on Jan. 23, 2012. Some 230 married and unmarried women and dozens of male devotees wearing red attire started their holy tour a day earlier.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Devotees take a holy bath in the Bagmati river on Jan. 23, 2012.

msnbc.com news services report:

The month-long festival, dedicated to God Madhavnarayan and Goddess Swasthani, involves the recitation of folk tales about miraculous feats performed by them in many Hindu households.

Some 230 married and unmarried women and dozens of male devotees have been fasting for the past two weeks. Unmarried women take the fast to get a good husband and married women for their families' prosperity.