Hindu devotees across Nepal have been celebrating the month long Swasthani Bratakatha festival. The event begins on the first full moon day in the Nepali Poush month and ends on the next full moon day a month later.

Swasthani festival
Nepalese Hindu devotees take part in a bathing ritualPrakash Mathema/AFP

During the festival most Nepalese families gather each night to recite one chapter of the story of Swasthani Brata Katha, a Hindu tale about the lives of various gods and goddesses, including goddess Swasthani and Lord Shiva. The story has 31 chapters- one for each day of the festival. The event is also marked by fasting for the sake of family welfare. Women in the Himalayan nation mark the month-long fast undertake rituals in the hope of a prosperous life and happiness.

When the festival ends, various types of food are prepared to mark the end of the day. The festival conclude with an Ashvamedha Yagya and devotees worship the god Shiva for entire night. In this gallery, IBTimesUK presents some of the best pictures from the month-long festival:

Swasthani festival
Men offer prayers by submerging themselves in the Hanumante RiverNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
A devotee takes a holy bath in River SaaliNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
A devotee blows a conch as he offers prayer by submerging himself in the Hanumante RiverNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
Devotees offer prayers by taking a bath in the Hanumante RiverNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
Devotees stand on the banks of the Bagmati RiverNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
People offer prayers before performing a ceremonial bath in the holy Bagmati River at the Pashupatinath TemplePrakash Mathema/AFP
Swasthani festival
Devotees offer prayers before taking a holy bath in the Bagmati River at Pashupatinath TempleNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
Nepalese Hindu devotees leave after taking a holy bath in the Bagmati River at the Pashupatinath TemplePrakash Mathema/AFP
Swasthani festival
The feet of a devotee are wrapped in bandagesNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
A Hindu holy man is reflected on the mirror as he recites verses from the holy Swasthani Brata Katha book on the bank of River SaaliNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
A group of women rest after performing a ceremonial bath in the holy Bagmati River at the Pashupatinath TemplePrakash Mathema/AFP
Swasthani festival
A devotee holds offerings while performing a ritualNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
Nepalese Hindu devotees offer prayers by rolling on the ground after performing a bathing ritualPrakash Mathema/AFP
Swasthani festival
Devotees offer prayers by rolling near the bank of the Hanumante RiverNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
A devotee offers prayers by rolling on the groundNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani festival
A Nepalese Hindu devotee dries a garment after taking part in a mass bathing ritualPrakash Mathema/AFP
Swasthani festival
A devotee walks along the woods of Changu NarayanNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters