Festival reflecting way of life in Lalitpur

LALITPUR, March 31:Streets of Patan are filled with the smell of Newari dishes and flecked with sparkling colors of traditional costumes even as resounding melodies of folk songs take the visitors back to the historical days.Lalitpur folks are overwhelmed these days as swarm of visitors throng Lalitpur festival that began on Thursday. The 86 toles, including Lakhel, Managlbazar, Yasoda Mahabihar Bubahal has been decorated in best possible ways.

Sannani Tuladhar, a resident of Lakhel, usually spins cotton on Charkha (spinning wheel). The lady, who is in her early 80s, has often been admired for her expertise by her children, but had never got an opportunity to show her skill to a huge mass. The Lalitpur Mahotsav has given the space to many such artisans who are unknown to the world but have been playing the most significant role to conserve primitive culture.

Lalitpur folks believe they are richer than Kathmandu and Bhaktapur in ways of life. But the locals feel that their effort of conserving the ancient tradition of Newar community hasn´t been appreciated much.

“Kathmandu and Bhaktapur are always in the limelight while we struggle to promote our ethnicity and culture,” says Ashok Maharjan, resident of Mikhabahal.
Mikabahal used to be the place of farmers in the ancient days. But currently, only a handful of people are involved in farming. Malls and supermarkets have been built at the cultivable land owned by his forefathers, he mentioned.

According to Mangal Maharjan, chairman of Jaypu Society of Lalitpur, the locals were asked to bring antiques whatever they have at home to exhibit in the festival. The rare image of God Indra has been displayed. Similarly, visitors can observe the demonstration of how handicrafts are prepared from wood, clay and various metals. The local women are seen making household items using straw and jute.

The exhibits also include idols of Hindu gods and goddesses. Artist Dharma Raj Shakya has built a 16 feet long statue of Lord Ganesha after six days of hard labor. The idol of Lord Buddha and a replica of Patan Gate are the center of attraction for visitors.

The nineteen organizations that came together to organize the event have spent Rs 30 million in the festival and expect to see 1 million visitors in a week, said Jyapu Society Chairperson Maharjan.

Visitors marvel at the pictures of early 20th century depicting the radiance of the ancient Kathmandu Valley when greenery was abound.

“I am mesmerized by these pictures of the Kathmandu Valley,” said Nyamgyal Sayaka of Bouddha. Sayaka belongs to the Sherpa community but she says she finds the Newari dish Bara, Chatamari and Samyebaji simply incomparable.

Meanwhile, the Lalitpur-based living goddess Kumari is busy throughout the day, offering blessings to the devotees. According to the Jyapu Society Chairman Mangal Maharjan, the Kumari goddess will stay at courtyard.

Though this year´s festival was organized after four years, the locals want to give continuity in the next years. Around 400,000 people have visited the festival till Saturday, the third day of the festival, according to the organizers. The festival will conclude on Wednesday.

Source: Republica

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