Unmarried Hindu women in Nepal are fasting for a month in the hope they will find a good husband. The ritual is also observed by married women to pray for their family's welfare.

The month-long Swasthani Brata Katha festival, which began on 5 January, is dedicated to the Hindu god Madhavnarayan and goddess Swasthani.

Every day for a month, devotees recite one chapter of a story about the gods and the miraculous feats they performed. Devotees also go on pilgrimages to various temples to take a holy dip in rivers, in freezing Himalayan winter weather.

In this gallery, we compile some of the most beautiful photographs of this year's festival.

Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
Devotees take a holy dip in the Bagmati River in KathmanduNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
Devotees enter the Triveni River to offer a prayerNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
Devotees cross the Triveni River after completing a bathing ritualNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
A devotee crosses the Triveni River in the early morning as she arrives to offer prayerNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
A Hindu holy man, or Sadhu, sits near a fire to keep warm on the first day of the festivalNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
A devotee offers prayers in the early morning in KathmanduNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
A Hindu holy man recites verses from the holy Swasthani Brata KathaNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
Hindu women sit around fires to keep warm before bathing in the Saali River in KathmanduNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
A woman carrying her child walks in the grounds of Pashupatinath temple in KathmanduNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
A devotee offers prayers by rolling on the street at Panauti near KathmanduNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
A devotee offers a prayer during the Swasthani Bratakatha festivalNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Swasthani Hindu festival Nepal
Devotees gather to offer prayers at Sankhu, near KathmanduNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters