Tihar: The Festival of Lights begins

With lamps banishing the darkness of the new moon night, fireworks lighting up the sky and people exchanging greetings, Tihar is a festival like no other. Tihar, one of the largest festivals for Nepali Hindus after Dashain starts today. Also known as Yampanchak, the festival is observed for five days.

The first day of Yamapanchak, Kaag Tihar (worship of crows) is celebrated by offering sweets and food to the crows. According to Hindu mythology, crow is considered the messenger of Yama. As the cawing of the crows symbolizes sadness and grief, the devotees offer the crows food to avert grief and deaths at their homes. This festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to Yama, the god of death, and animals including crow, dog, cow and ox, which maintain a close relationship with humans. Read More

Fun ways to celebrate this Dashain

Dashain, the biggest and the most anticipated festival of Nepal is always celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. As the carefree and happy feeling envelopes us, we know Dashain is truly here. Imagine days of fun and frolic with family and friends. We are sure you have plans for this annual festival. But we have still compiled a list of exciting ways to celebrate this Dashain.

Enjoy the festive delicacies

Mutton delicacies will be enjoyed all over the country, no doubt. But you can actually tantalize your taste buds with new recipes. Ditch the tried and tested recipes this year and go for some new ones. Recipes will be easily available on the Internet. Looking up Indian recipes means that you will get different recipes from each corner of the country. There are delectable sounding dishes like ‘Mutton Do-Pyaaza’, ‘Mutton Korma’, ‘Mutton Bhuna Gosht’, ‘Handi Kebab’ or ‘Kheema Kofta Curry’ to dig into. Read More

Indra Jatra Celebrations

Legends say that the Indra Jatra festival is observed to celebrate the victory of the gods over the demons to release Jayanta, the son of Lord Indra. This colorful autumn festival which is also known as Kumari Jatra, is celebrated by both the Hindus and Buddhists. The festival is believed to have started by King Gunakamadeva during 18th and is named after Lord Indra who is known as the god of rain and also as the King of heaven.

Indra Jatra festival falls on the fourth day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar. It is celebrated in the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley and in Kavre and Dolakha for 7 days. Indra, the Hindu god of rain and good harvest, is worshiped in this festival. The festival is celebrated by both the Hindus and Buddhists and lasts for eight days with singing, mask dancing and rejoicing. Read More

Rishi Panchami celebrated

KATHMANDU, Aug 30: Hindu women across the country observed the Rishi Panchami festival as per the established rituals. The festival is observed on the fifth day of bright half-moon day of Bhadra in the lunar calendar.

Hindu women reaching their menstruation period observe this festival with due respect and importance by observing fast and paying homage to the Saptarishis (seven powerful saints as per the Hindu mythology) with a belief that they will be blessed and forgiven for all their sins they believed to commit during their menstrual cycle by not following (unknowingly) strictures set by their religion.

On the day, those observing the festival wake up early in the morning, go to nearby river, stream, pond and lake and take bath with established rituals. They clean their body with 365 stems of Apamarga, a herbal plant, take bath with cow dung and soil collected from sacred places and ash.


Haritalika Teej: Festival of Women

The festival of ‘Teej,’ a big festival observed by Nepali Hindu women,was celebrated with great zeal, wishing for prosperous life and perpetual luck throughout the country on Thursday.

As per the tradition, women on this third day of dark half of the lunar month that falls in the Nepali month of Bhadra observe fasting and wish for a prosperous life while observing the festival.

The ‘Teej’ festival is also celebrated as ‘Haritalika’. All the Hindu Nepalese women offer prayers and worships at Pashupatinath Temple and other temples of Lord Shiva in other parts of the country.

According to the ‘Skanda Puran’ (a religious scripture of the Hindus), this festival got the name ‘Haritalika Teej’ as it was on this very day in the ‘Satya Yug’ (golden epoch of truth) that the daughter of the Himalayas, Parvati, was hidden by her maids because of her refusal to marry Lord Vishnu. Read More

Bhadra Shukla Chaturthi: The day of the Elephant-God

Goddess Parvati, the better half of Lord Shiva, was yearning for a child. One day, while she was taking a bath with turmeric and water, she started rubbing the turmeric off her body. Then she molded the residue thus derived into a human structure. With her powers, she breathed life into the image. Within seconds, a little boy magically appeared before her. She called him her son and commanded him to guard the main gate of her palace. Lord Shiva, who was not home at the moment, returned in the evening. The little boy stopped him from entering his own house. Shiva was so angry with the boy’s audacity that he cut off his head and entered the palace.

When Parvati came to know about this, she told her husband that he was her son and pleaded him to bring him back to life. Lord Shiva, softened by his wife’s tears, asked his messengers to bring him a head of any creature to be attached to the dead boy’s body. They searched far and wide and stumbled across an old elephant with a single tooth. They cut off its head and presented it to their lord. Shiva then brought the boy back to life with his powers.

This day, also known as Bhadra Shukla Chaturthi (the fourth day of the waxing moon period), is regarded as the birthday of the little boy brought back from the dead, who went on to be worshipped as Lord Ganesha. Read More

Lhasa’s Drepung Monastery comes alive for Shoton festival

LHASA, Aug 28: The usually quiet city came to life with hundreds of people, if not thousands, thronging the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). They came as early as five in the morning for the Shoton festival that started this year, according to the Tibetan calendar, on August 25.

“This is a regional Tibetan festival and it´s celebrated in different parts of Tibet,” says Zou Yuheng, a staffer at the TAR Information Office, explaining that Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, which is the largest monastery in the world, is the main venue for the festival.

Built in 1416, Drepung Monastery is situated at the foot of Gambo Utse mountain. The monastery looks from afar like a heap of rice, and hence its name. Dre in Tibetan means rice and pung signifies collecting. To reach the monastery on the first day of the five-day festival, people have to walk for two to three hours as all motorable roads leading to it are closed off. What makes the journey even more strenous is the fact that almost half the going is up a steep hill. Some people opt to head for the monastery surroundings on the eve of the festival and pitch tents for the night. Read More

TEEJ FESTIVAL: PADT expects over three lakh devotees

KATHMANDU: Security in and around Pashupatinath Temple has been stepped up for the Teej festival, to be observed on Thursday, when around 300,000 women devotee are expected to visit the hallowed Hindu shrine to offer puja.

The Pashupati Area Development Trust has formed a main organising committee led by its Treasurer Taranath Subedi for the festival.

According to PADT, there will be three entry points — Bankali-Char Shivalaya-Panchadeval-Bajraghar-Dakshin Dhoka, Jaya Bageshwori-Bhuwaneshwori-Falame Pul-Pashim Dhoka and Mitrapark-Gaurighat-Umakunda-Dakshina Murti-Rudragadeshwor-Bashuki — through which devotees could proceed towards the temple in lines.

According to Subedi, arrangements will be made in such a way that no devotee has to wait for more than an hour to reach the temple. “All four doors of Pashupatinath Temple will be opened four in the morning for the devotees to pay homage to Lord Shiva,” he said. “The northern, southern and eastern doors, however, will remain closed from 12 noon to 3pm for the daily rituals in the temple. All doors will be closed at eight in the night.” Read More