Festival #1 Janai Purnima

“Hindus today (Sunday August 10th) celebrated Janai Purnima across the country by tying rakshya bandhan (sacred thread) around their wrist from priests. Legend has it that the thread protects the wearer for the entire year… Revellers thronged the temples and holy rivers across the country for a holy dip before they changed their sacred thread.”

For more details there are articles in the Kathmandu Post and Himalayan Times quoted above. Otherwise the events below are my own experience of my first festival in Nepal, the first of many I hope;

#1 I started out on Sunday afternoon wandering the streets of Patan; the area south of the Bagmati river in Kathmandu also known as Lalitpur. This is where I will almost certainly be living and working for the most part over the next two years. Patan was originally a ‘fiercely independent city-state’ and so has it’s own historical Durbar Square made up of fantastic temples and palaces. On Sunday the streets were also decorated with flags and busy with Nepali people enjoying the day of the Janai Purnima festival;

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#2 There were groups of men and women singing and dancing in the streets and this shot attempts to show an example of the local crowds standing on every surface of a nearby temple to get a good look and enjoy the show. You can also see examples of the beautiful kurta suruwals outfits the ladies are wearing as I mentioned in my last post;

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#3 After absorbing the atmosphere on the streets I decided it was time to follow the real crowds to the nearby Kumbeswhor temple. After joining the amiable queuing system to gain access to the temple, upon entry there were lines of priests ready to tie the rakshya bandhan on your wrist whilst chanting the related mantras and finally place a tika on your forehead;

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#4 Here is the lovely priest (& I assume his wife) who had the joy of doing me the honour. Just a note that I have not used any filter on this photograph this was simple the vibrancy of the setting, their outfits and the festival – so colourful!

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#5 And my final look; The tika did not last long but the rakshya bandhan should only be removed on the occasion of Lakshmi Puja – part of the Tihar festival (apparently the second most important of the calendar) in October – when it should be tied onto the tail of a cow. Wish me luck!?

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#6 Past the priests at the entrance, now complete with rakshya bandhan and tika, I followed the crowds further towards the large pool at the centre of the temple complex. This was where young men and boys were taking the opportunity for a holy dip before renewing their sacred threads. You can just make out one guy is mid jump toward the right hand side of my photo. The ladies in the centre are queuing for a slightly more dignified version;

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Success; my first Nepali festival to initiate me into a land of festivals – the season of which is apparently now upon us. This was personally some great added entertainment on my Sunday afternoon stroll and a pleasure to see so many men and women of all generations out enjoying the day and celebrating their heritage. Watch this space for more festival fun…

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