Janai Purnima – Festival of Nepal

A priest ties the sacred thread on the wrist of a women. Image: Reuters.

As is well known, Nepal has an abundance of colourful festivals. It may also be clear by now that all such festivals revolve around the different phases of the moon. Which is natural, considering that the Bikram Sambat calendar used in Nepal is also a lunar calendar. Continue reading

Celebrating Buddhahood—Buddha Jayanti

Statue of Gautam Buddha,Swayambhunath. Image:flickr/PrOzZ

Buddha Jayanti, which falls on 4th May 2015 this year, is not just a day to celebrate Lord Gautam Buddha’s birth, but also to celebrate his whole life, from birth to enlightenment and then to his death, which, if charted, goes as follows: birth—623 B.C.; enlightenment—588 B.C. and death—at age eighty. Continue reading

Saraswati Puja – Celebrating Knowledge and Learning

A father teaching his child to write during the Saraswati Puja. Photo: Lucida

A father teaching his child to write during the Saraswati Puja. Photo: Lucida

Saraswati Puja often approaches in late January or early February, where one will find schools and colleges all over the country gaily decorated with festoons and stages on which will be a large, wonderfully made statue of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learning. Continue reading

A Once in a Blue Moon affair, the Dipankha Yatra of Nepal

Deepankha Yatra

Neel Thusa, Nagbahal, the starting point of the journey. Image © Sanu Maharjan

The morning of October 20 this year, on a Sunday, many people of Kathmandu Valley, both men and women, young and old, Hindus and Buddhists, woke up to a new day feeling strong and refreshed. Continue reading

Bol Bam—the Shravani Mela

Pilgrims walking towards pashupatinath in Kathmandu.

You have probably seen the movie, “Gandhi”. In it, one of the most moving sights must surely have been the thousands of people following the frail dhoti-clad figure of Mahatma Gandhi, striding ahead with the help of a wooden walking stick, during one of his salt marches. Continue reading

Kathmandu Valley and its Nagas

A devotee offers milk to a snake as part of a ritual on Naag Panchami festival. Image: Wodu Media

It is a fact that come the greatest Hindu festival in the country, Dashain, and hundreds of thousands of goats, buffaloes, pigeons, etc. are beheaded at the sacrificial altar of Goddess Kali in a countless number of temples throughout the length and breadth of the country. This is an age-old tradition that occurs on the eighth day of Dashain, i.e. Astami. Continue reading

Grand Yartung Festival – Manang

The bond between men and horses in the Himalayan region of Nepal and elsewhere in places like Tibet and central Asia is a special one. This relationship is a throwback to the days when the next village or the next country were an enemy and wars were frequent. Continue reading