Hindus and Buddhists across the length and breadth of Nepal offer oblations and prayers to the gods and seek their blessings by burning incense. According to Nepalese religious traditions, there are five articles (panchopachar) that are essential in any act of religious worship: dhoop is one of the articles that is an essential part of the offering to the deity. In Nepal a large and varied variety of dhoop is available - it is believed that each one of these varieties possesses its own unique virtues, carries its own particular blessings, and has its own medicinal properties. Ancient manuscripts describe many varieties of dhoop. Special kinds of dhoops are said to possess the power of curing diseases, casting out evil spirits, invoking the nagas (deities) that control the rain-bearing clouds, and invoking Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune.
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