Bisket Jatra: A Colorful Affair

April 17, 2014

With the arrival of a new year, Bhaktapur revels in the celebration of Bisket Jatra marking the start of 2071. The nine-day Bisket Jatra takes place over the period of the Nepalese New Year of Bikram Sambat; it is regarded as a New Year Festival as well. This year, it starts from 10th of April for a week. The main attraction of the celebration is the mighty chariot of Bhairab, which is assembled from the timbers scattered beside the Bhairabnath Temple and Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi. The chariots will be pulled during the festival at Taumadhi square, Bhaktapur. The festivities start off with a friendly tug-of-war between the residents of the lower and upper halves of the town of Bhaktapur, during which each group tries to pull an historical chariot containing an image of Betal and Bhairab to their side of the town. The festival includes parades, procession and the display of temple deities throughout the city. Read more

Famous tongue piercing festival Bisket Jatra starts in Bhaktapur

April 11, 2014

Bisket Jatra, a colourful festival celebrated with much pomp and fanfare in ancient city of Bhaktapur, the sister city of Kathmandu, has started from Thursday.

The famous festival, which is observed for eight consecutive nights and nine days, has been marked since the Lichchhivi era (c. 450-c. 750), according to historical records.

The Jatra officially starts from today after the Guthi Sansthan offers worship in Bhairabi temple nearby Paanchtale temple in Naumadi.

During the festival, a chariot procession is held in Bhaktapur and images of Ganesh, Lakshmi and Mahakali are carried around town.

The festival is also famous for an exciting tongue piercing ceremony that takes place during the chariot procession. A volunteer from the Shrestha family gets his tongue pierced in a spiritual trance with an iron spike and walks around the town shouldering a round bamboo rack with flaming torches. It is believed that the successful completion of this painful rite brings good fortune to the villagers & the volunteer himself.

source: nepalnews.com, 10 April 2014

Devotees throng Halesi

April 10, 2014

Pilgrims have thronged Halesi, the famous pilgrimage site in Khotang district, today, to worship the Halesi Mahadev on the occasion of Ramnawami. Halesi temple is known as the ‘Pashupatinath’ of the eastern region.

The fair, organised on the occasion of Ramnawami, is observed for 15 days. Tens of thousands of people from Nepal, India, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Korea have reached Halesi. Halesi is an important pilgrimage for the Hindus, Buddhists and Kirants.

Executive Director of the Halesi Development Committee, Taman Rai, said that large numbers of devotees have reached Halesi with the road expansion.
Rai said that the number of devotees visiting Halesi has increased by double this year after the construction of Bailey bridges over the Sunkoshi river on the border of Udaypur and Okhaldhunga districts, and over the Dudhkoshi river on the border of Khotang and Okhaldhunga districts.
There is a belief that one’s wish would be fulfilled after worshipping the Halesi Mahadev.

Temple Management Committee Chairman, Gajurman Rai, said that internal and foreign tourists and devotees come to Halesi to visit religious and tourism sites including the Mahadev cave, Basaha cave, dharmadwar and papdwar, among others.

source: gorkhapatraonline.com, 08 April 2014

Ram Nawami being observed today as a victory of righteousness over anarchy

April 9, 2014

Ram Nawami, the birthday of Hindu God Ram, the 8th reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, is being observed by Hindu devotees across the country on Tuesday.

In Kathmandu, people were seen lining up from early in the morning in various temples and especially the temples of God Ram and Goddess Sita in Pashupati area and Battisputali, among other places.

In different parts of the country, people were engaged in religious offerings in whichever temple is nearby to them.

In Janakpur, the birthplace of Goddess Sita Maiya, Ram Nawami is being celebrated with much devotion and fervour.

According to RSS, sadhus (monks) from different parts of Nepal and India have gathered at the ancient Ram Temple in Janakpur to observe the festival. Devotees are singing hymns dedicated to Lord Ram.

According to Ramayana, Ram was born to Suryabanshi King Dashrath and queen Kaushalya on the Nawami or the ninth day in the bright half of the month of Chaita as per the lunar calendar.

And the Nawami in the month of Chaitra every year is observed as Ramnawami by Hindus. Ram is the king of the 61st generation of the Suruyabanshi clan.

Hindus consider Lord Ram as the epitome of the perfect human being and the kind of statecraft that he presided over and the humanitarian values that he practiced is taken as an inspiration for democracy.

The word ‘ramrajya‘ which means the state presided over by Ram, even today symbolizes the ideal state characterized by good governance, rule of law and public welfare that every political system strives towards.

Lord Ram also represents the virtues of patriotism, loyalty and respect to one’s parents, love and compassion, the ruler’s empathy towards the people, simplicity, religiousness, morality, forgiveness and bravery.

Devotion towards Lord Ram and his consort Sita who is taken as the Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of prosperity, is believed to have started during the Aryan civilization since ancient times.

A research carried out by the Maharshi Vedic University found that towns that derive their names from Ram in different countries of the world apart from Nepal and India is over a thousand.

Lord Ram is worshipped in the form of a benefactor and supporter of truth. Mere chanting of the word Ram is believed to give a spiritual feeling. It is also taken to be pious and liberating.

According to scriptures, one who observes a fast on Ramnawami and worships Lord Ram with full devotion is redeemed of the worldly life (with inputs from RSS).

source: nepalnews.com, 08 April 2014

Folk music contest in Baglung

April 9, 2014

Rastriya Lok Dohori Geet Prathisthan Rupandehi’ bagged the first prize in the Rastriya Dohori Geet contest organized by Butwal Udyog Banijya Sangh on the occasion of its golden jubilee.

The contest was organized in the theme of ‘Preserving art and culture, and promoting domestic tourism, industry and business’ and the group won a cash prize of Rs 60,000.

Standing second, Jaya Hotel won Rs 40,000 while Him Sagar Rodhi Saanjh and Arjun Furniture both stood third and walked away with Rs 15,000 each as well as certificates, informed Udyog Banijya Sangh’s Chairman Basanta Kumar Shrestha.

The contest, which commenced last Monday and came to an end on Tuesday, saw the participation of 12 teams.

Artists like Yash Kumar, Radhika Hamal, Bishnu Khatri, Shri Krishna Bam Malla and Basanta Thapa among others entertained the audience. More than a dozen singers performed during the entire contest.

source: republica, 09 April 2014

Pokhara Fewa Lake festival from April 11

April 7, 2014

Tourism, Culture and Food Festival is going to be held at the banks of Fewa Lake, Basundhara Park from 11 to 15 April, 2014.

This is the 11th festival on the occasion of Nepali New Year that is being organized by Western Regional Hotel Association.

At a press meet organized in the capital today, Chairman of the Western Regional Hotel Association Hari Sharma, said 15 percent discount will be given in lodging to internal tourists and discount will be decided for food and travel also.

One can enjoy songs, cultural program, helicopter view, among others in the festival, said Festival Convener Bharat Raj Parajuli.

source: NTB, 07 April 2014

Seto Machhindranath Jatra begins today

April 7, 2014

Considered one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Kathmandu, Seto Machhindranath Jatra, a chariot procession dedicated to the god of rain, begins from Monday.

The festival kicks off with the temporary shipment of an idol of Seto Machhindranath from its temple at Kel Tole in Basantapur Durbar Square to a chariot built by local Newars at Durbarmarg. The holy chariot is pulled by hundreds of devotees to Jamal and then to Ason.

The chariot, which is the main attraction of the festival, is a wooden tower built in Sikhar Sailee (a mountain-like structure). The chariot is supported by four huge wheels, each representing separate avatars of Bhairav, the lord of aggression. The chariot is divided into 10 storeys, each of which is considered to be the houses of lords Indra, Barun, Kuber, Agni, Nairithya, Bayubya, Bramha, Mahadev and Narayan, respectively. The idol of Seto Machhindranath is perched at the first storey of the temple-like structure of the chariot. The section, decorated with precious stones, is supposed to be guarded by two other idols of two avatars of Goddess Tara.

The festival of Seto Machhindranath also coincides with another Hindu festival of Chaite Dashain, also known as the miniature version of the Dashain festival celebrated around October, and is celebrated on the eighth day of the lunar month of Chaitra, six month prior to the main Dashain festival.

The three-day chariot procession is celebrated in a designated route that goes through Ason, Indrachowk and surrounding areas to Lagan in Basantapur. The first day of the divine procession covers Jamal, Ratnapark, Bhotahity and Ason. On the second day, the procession is taken out from Ason to Balkumari, Kel Tole, Indra Chowk, Makhan and rests in Hanumandhoka. On the final day, the chariot moves through Hanumandhoka, Maru, Chikmugal, Jaisidewal, Jya Baha and finally reaches Lagan Tole. On the fourth day, the image of the god is restored at the temple of Machhindranath in Kel Tole. At every stop en route to the final destination, devotees pay homage and make offerings to the god residing in the grand chariot.

source: ekantipur, 07 April 2014

Chati chhath festival over in Mithila region

April 6, 2014

The religious and cultural Chaiti Chhath, also known as the Basanti Chhath, concluded in the Mithila region including Mahottari with the devotees making offerings to the rising sun this morning.

The devotees who were on a fast for the festival worshipped and made offerings to the rising sun at the different ghats constructed on the banks of ponds in villages and settlements after taking ablution bath.

Before this, the devotees who had been observing a fast since Friday worshipped the setting sun on Saturday as part of the Chhath rituals.

The festival which is dedicated to the sun god is observed for four days in the belief that it will keep diseases at bay, cure skin diseases and fulfill one´s wishes.

The Chhath festival is observed twice a year in the Mithila region – as Saradiya Chhath in November and as Basanti Chhath in the month of April

source: republica, 06 April 2014