March 5, 2014
At this time of year the Tibetan Autonomous Region sees an influx of tourists from all over the world. Along with the growth of tourism in the region comes the issue of protection and preservation of cultural heritage.
Shiqu in the Tibet Autonomous Region, home of the famous Buddhist wall carvings, is also the source of many other mobile artifacts such as the Tangka and Buddhist sculptures.
According Xiong Wenbin, a scholar at the China Tibetology Research Center, more and more Buddhist artifacts like these are showing up in both domestic and international auctions, an alarming trend calling for better protection and regulation.
“We’ve found that the provenance of a lot of these artifacts are all in the region of Tibet, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, and Yunnan. If we don’t do something to increase our protection measures, what we have now will be gone soon,” Xiong said.
After extensive study of the Buddhists artifacts in the region, Tibetologists and other experts found that most of these artifacts have been locked up in safe vaults. But analysis of past theft cases suggest that stashing away these artifacts is simply not enough. An alternative approach is urgently needed.
“The more valuable these temple artifacts are, the more these items should be exhibited and publicized, so that more people know that these items belong to the temple and that they cannot and should not appear in anyone’s personal collections,” said Luo Wenhua, at researcher at the Palace Museum.
Each a unique piece of art, these Buddhist statues also chronicle the evolution of the cultural and social past of the region. Soon, a museum will be constructed inside the temple and many of these historical cultural artifacts will see the light of day again.
source: CCTV News, 03 Mar 2014
March 5, 2014
Losar, or Tibetan New Year, is currently being celebrated. Apart from worshipping at temples and watching local performances, another activity on offer is visiting museums. The Tibetan Museum in Lhasa is hosting an exhibition informing visitors of customs related to the new year and presenting them with unique and exquisite silk pieces made in the region.
The Tibetan Museum here is proving to be a one stop destination for those wanting to experience Tibetan new year customs. On display are the typical offerings seen on tables in every household in the Tibetan Autonomous Region including buns, goat’s heads, highland barley and dried fruit. Visitors can also try their hand at chess, or a dice guessing game. Guessing riddles written in Tibetan, and taking home red prints of horses are also on the bill. There are also prints of the auspicious Tibetan word expressing blessings.
Silk products have played an important part in Tibetan history for centuries. Silk was brought to the Tibetan plateau along the Silk Road in the Tang dynasty- first used for religious practices and by families in the nobility. The eighty pieces on display have been chosen from 4000 pieces in the museum’s collection and are mostly from the period of the Ming and Qing dynasties, some of which testify to the exchange of cultures between the Han people and Tibet.
Cheng Zhihong, staff member of Tibetan Museum, said, “These pieces exemplify a mixture of elegant silk pieces made in the east of China and the functionality and regional culture of Tibet. They were made exclusively for Tibetan people, and sent to Tibet as gifts from the royal court.”
So everyone who want to immerse themselves in Tibetan new year culture, come and experience all that’s on offer here in Lhasa until Friday.
source: CCTV News, 04 Mar 2014
March 2, 2014
Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotee thronged the Pashupatinath Temple to offer prayers and celebrate the Shivaratri festival on Thursday.
The festival organiser, Pashupati Area Development Trust, said around 1 million people visited the temple, exceeding their estimate of 700,000. Although the large turnout caused some management difficulties, the festival went largely peaceful, said Gobinda Thandon of PADT.
“Our team did a pretty well job, considering the size of the crowd. It would not have been possible without the assistance from the volunteers and security personnel,” said Tandon. Devotees had started queuing up from the wee hours of Thursday morning to enter the main temple and offer their prayers. Purna Maya Shrestha, 77, who has been visiting the temple on Shivaratri for the last 25 years, was the first person to offer prayers to Lord Pashupatinath.
“It was the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Shrestha, who was few persons behind the line leading to the western gate of the main temple and was asked by the doorkeepers to enter first. “I feel really blessed for being the first person to worship the Lord,” she said. In the afternoon, President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and Vice President Parmananda Jha also visited the temple. Former king Gyanendra Shah also offered prayers at the temple.
A large number of security personnel were mobilized in and around the temple area to assist the sea of people and maintain law and order. The Nepal Police had deployed 3,399 law enforcement officers in the Pashupati area. A contingent of 949 police officers were mobilised near the temple vicinity since 10 am on Wednesday. The police force was replaced by a next set of security personnel from 8 am until 6 pm. Superintendent of Police Narayan Singh Khadka, who led the force, said they were able to handle the crowd successfully. He added that 849 police officers were deployed in the Pashupati area on Thursday night.
source: NTB, 28 Feb 2014
March 2, 2014
It’s that time of year again for Tibetans in China and around the world to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan word for “New Year.” According to the Tibetan calendar, New Year falls on March 2nd this year. A stage spectacle combining traditional singing and dancing is in rehearsal to celebrate the occasion.
Song and dance run through the veins of Tibetan people. So naturally the New Year gala wouldn’t be complete without traditional Tibetan performances. This time around a group of 60 local villagers from Bomi County have been invited to perform at the show.
The costumes have been exquisitely embroidered and complemented with faconne decorations and pendants.
Lu Junxiang, from the Publicity Department of Bomi County, spoke more about the design of the dresses: “The way the Tibetan women in Bomi County dress today has been handed down generation by generation and can be traced back some 1,300 years.”
Joining the festive fray are also some children, with the youngest being only four. This is the third time that Kelsang Tashi has performed at the New Year gala.
“I was very nervous the first two times I was on stage. But I’m not this time, and what’s more, I’m in three sections of the performance this year,” he said.
The Tibetan New Year gala will be televised on Tibetan satellite TV on March 1st.
source: CCTV-News, 24 Feb 2014
March 2, 2014
The first Nepal Gypsy Jazz Festival 2014 is taking place in March at different places in the Kathmandu Valley.
International gypsy jazz musicians, along with local players, will come together to create music that will enthrall the audience and give them a new experience.
Reputed gypsy jazz musicians who will be playing in the festival are Daniel Givone from France, Greg Pittet from Switzerland, and Monsif Mzibri from Morocco. Hari Maharjan and Kutumba from Nepal will complete the picture.
The event, of which dance will be an integral part, is expected to be a new and memorable experience for the audience, with its different but appealing music and gypsy-themed festival.
The first show of the festival will take place at Trisara in Lazimpat on March 1, the second on March 8 at Embassy Hotel of Pani Pokhari, and the third one on March 9 at The Yellow House in Sanepa, and at Moksh in Jhamsikhel, and the last one will be on March 14 at Hotel Summit in Kupondole Heights.
The tickets are priced at Rs 300 each, apart from Rs 1,800 per pax with a live BBQ dinner and complimentary drinks at Hotel Summit.
Tickets are available at all the Big Mart outlets and the venues as well.
source: republica, 26 Feb 2014
March 2, 2014
The Sherpa people living in the mountainous region are celebrating the Ghyalpo Lhosar (New Year) in different places of the country on Sunday.
Although it is not known from when this festival actually began to be celebrated, etymologically Lhosar in the Sherpa language means the New Year. This time the Sherpas are welcoming in the Horse New Year and bidding goodbye to the Snake Year.
The Sherpa community celebrates this festival for three days with special reverence. On the New Year Day, the Sherpas put up festoons on hill tops. On the first day, the Sherpas get up early, perform worships at home, visit the monasteries, take blessings from the Lama priests there. The first day is called the Lama Lhosar.
On the second day, family gatherings are held, relatives see each other and enjoy delicacies. The day is therefore called the Priwar Lhosar or the Family Lhosar. The third day of the festival is dedicated to the worship of the different deities as Bhairav, Mahakal etc, which are believed to guard the settlements in different directions. These deities are called the Dharmapals or the guardians of the religion, hence the day is known as the Dharmapal Lhosar.
Sherpas live in Solukhumbu, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sankhuwasabha, Mugu and other Himalayan districts. Their population is about 500 thousand.
source: republica, 02 Mar 2014
March 2, 2014
Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) on Saturday bade farewell to the sadhus, who had travelled to Pashupati nath Temple for the Shivaratri festival.
The PADT organised an event where 3,500 sadhus were offered Dakshina or donation for gracing the festival by their presence. The sadhus were offered Dakshina sum ranging from Rs 5,001 to Rs 1,01 based on their seniority, said Gobinda Tandon, the PADT member secretary. Prasad (religious offerings of food) was also doled out to the sadhus.
Although around 5,000 sadhus had visited the Pashupati nath Temple for Shivaratri this year, many had left for their respective abode, immediately after the festival. According to the PADT officials, Rs 700,000 was allocated to look after the visiting sadhus this year.
Some shadus who did not receive the monetary offerings on Saturday expressed their dissatisfaction to the PADT.
Tandon said they have pledged to provide Dakshina to the sadhus upon hearing their grievances.
“ We plan to give the remaining shadus the Dakshina on Monday. We don’t want anyone to leave unhappy,” said Tandon.
Tandon said there was a increase in the number of Sadhus this year. Around 2,200 sadhus had attended the Shivaratri festival of last year. Most of the sadhus come to Pashupati nath from Janakpur, Chitwan, Birgunj, Nepalgunj, and neighboring India.
Around 1 million devotees and revellers had visited the Pashupati nath Temple this year for Shivaratri festival on Thursday. PADT officials said this year, the main temple collected around Rs 945,000 in religious offerings made by the devotees.
“This is a slight increase from last year’s collection. However we haven’t counted the coins,” said Tandon.
source: ekantipur, 02 Mar 2014
February 28, 2014
Hindu devotees have been in queue at the Doleswor Mahadev temple in Sipadole, Bhaktapur since 3:00 am early today in order to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva on the occasion of Mahashivaratri festival.
On the day, all four doors to the temple are kept open in order to ease the flow of devotees.
Sufficient security arrangement has been made while volunteers have been mobilized to manage the crowd in the temple, said Kiran Thapa of the temple preservation committee.
Medical camps, drinking water supply and prasad distribution have also been managed accordingly, Thapa said.
A large number of saints from home and neighbouring India have also taken refuge in the temple premises that has added to the attraction to the temple.
The temple is open until midnight today.
Likewise, the Ashapuri Mahadesh in Sipadol, Ananta Lingeswor in Dadhikot, Gupteswar Mahadev and Somalingeswar Mahadev in Sirutar and the Jyotirlingeswar in Changu have also been drawing a large number of devotees since early morning today.
Hindus across the country are observing Mahashivaratri today, to mark the day Lord Shiva was believed to have been born.
source: gorkhapatraonline.com, 27 Feb 2014