Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2013 - Happy Bisket Jatra - Festival in Bhaktapur - भक्तपुर

The Greatest Festival of Nepal - Bisket Jatra of Bhaktapur भक्तपुर (2069-2070 B.S.)

A grand festival of Bhaktapur - repertoire of cultural experience...
Festivals are an integral part of life in Nepal, and numerous festivals held throughout the year are enthusiastically supported by the Nepalese people. Religious festivals are determined by the lunar calendar, while national festivals have fixed dates. There is one festival, however, which is determined by the solar calendar. This is the annual Bisket Festival, which takes place in early April in the ancient Newari Cultural City of Bhaktapur – and it is based on a fable.

Bhaktapur, the cultural capital of Nepal, is rich for its culture, heritage, traditional feasts and festivals and typical Newari life style. It is worthwhile to visit Bhaktapur especially when you can watch a live festival. The biggest festival of Bhaktapur is called ‘BISKET JATRA’. This year, it starts from 10th of April for a week. For the festival, people have started making Bhairab chariot and Bhadrakali chariot. The chariots will be pulled during the festival at Taumadhi square, Bhaktapur. They will be pulled by both sides of the chariot like a game tug of war.

Then there will be competition between the two parts of this ancient city called upper part (Thane) and down part (Kwone). It is so amazing to watch the chariot pulled by both sides.  At that moment people get so excited and with full of enthusiasm; they enjoy watching and pulling the chariot. The sound produced by pulling in full motion is just fantastic!!!

Because the nine-day Bisket Festival takes place over the period of the Nepalese New Year of Bikram Sambat, it is regarded as a New Year Festival as well. 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. On the fourth day of the festival, and the last day of the “old year”, the men of the city work together to raise a approximately 25 meter high ceremonial pole, locally called "Yosing Dyo", into place. The pole has a crossbeam with two strips of cloth called "Halin Patta" hanging from it as a representation of two slain snakes. This ceremonial pole stays up until the following day when residents of the lower and upper halves of the city once more engage in a tug of war, but this time to pull the pole down to their respective sides. Once the pole crashes to the ground (sometimes resulting in casualties) it is seen as the official beginning of the New Year and the festivities continue for four more days.

The Bisket Festival of Bhaktapur is based on the story of a Bhaktapur King’s quest to find a husband for his daughter. Each time he made a suitable match, the groom would be found dead in the marital bed the following morning. Eventually eligible bachelors became a scarce commodity and the people prayed earnestly for deliverance from this mysterious curse. One day the father of the next prospective groom, on learning of the curse, offered to take his son’s place in the marital bed. Forcing himself to stay awake and alert following the consummation of the marriage, the substitute groom saw two deadly serpents slithering out of the princesses’ nostrils. The hero quickly killed the snakes and broke the spell, thereby earning the undying gratitude of the people and resulting in the celebration of the Bisket Festival.

Visitors to the beautiful city of Bhaktapur will more than likely be able to witness, and even share in a festival, no matter what time of the year they choose to travel here. Joining in the celebration of the Bisket Festival in April is sure to be an exciting and unforgettable experience for their entire life........ continue reading more here.

This week's pictorial blog takes us to the most beautiful and ancient  city of Bhaktapur to celebrate Bisket Jatra.  I would like to thank Rajesh Madhikarmi, for letting me share his pictures in the blog.  Rajesh is a very creative and talented photographer and his interest lies in capturing people and emotions.  He was born and brought up in Bhaktapur and is currently living there.   Visit his Facebook page "Lets SEE Through my Eyes." by clicking here.   My thanks goes to our friend, Prof. Yogendra Jonchhe, another native of Bhaktapur,  for providing me the official brochure of Bhaktapur Bisket Festival (jatra) and Madhyapur Thimi Bisket Festival (sindoor jatra).  The excerpts and write-ups are taken from the official page of Bhaktapur tourism department and Nagarpalika pages. 

Khwopinggram is the ancient name of Bhaktapur. The term "Bhaktapur" (भक्तपुर in Nepali-Sanskrit) refers to "The City Of Devotees". This Bhaktapur City is also known as Khwopa (ख्वप in Nepal Bhasaa) or "Bhadgaon" (भादगाँउ in Nepali) or "Ancient Newari Town" throughout the Kathmandu valley - source

If you would like to read more about this grand festival, here are some of the useful informative links and webpages:

Bhaktapur - Wikipedia - please click here.
The Greatest Festival of Nepal "Bisket Jatra of Bhaktapur" - please click here.
Nepali New Year and Bisket Jatra - please click here.
Bisket Jatra: a guide to celebrating Nepali New Year (Lonely Planet) - please click here.
Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel - connecting the world through storytelling by Barbara Weibel - please click here.
Explore Himalaya Tourism News, Trip Reports, Travel Guide & Photos - please click here.    

... sharing the lively spirit of festival time in Bhaktapur - the sight of decorated chariot is being pulled....
... young accomplished flute players during the festival time ...

... the leading musician with dhakaa topee (Nepali traditional hat), flower in his ears, busy playing the classic instrument tabalaa in the packed courtyard of Bhaktapur festival site ...
......thousands of people come to Bhaktapur from every corner of Nepal to watch the festival ...
...most elaborate Nepali New Year celebration ...

... procession continues ...

... spectators watching Bisket Jatra - young children climbing on a statue ...
... the lady in the red is carrying a tray full of offerings for the deity ...

... night time view of the chariot being pulled at the Bhaktapur courtyard area and the narrow stone-paved streets - no one should miss the festival of Bisket Jatra ...
... experience the most authentic and traditional Newari festival of Bisket Jatra ...
... everyone is in festive mood ... one hundred different reason to love Nepal's cultural heritage ...
...the chariot is being pulled slowly by holding a thick rope that is attached to the chariot....

.... everyone is participating to push the chariot ...
... a big tug of war - between two sides - the winners are considered blessed and it brings  good luck and  fortune to them for the coming New year ...
... wonderful photo shot by Rajesh Madhikarmi -  a man sitting underneath the wooden chariot to check the rope....
...festival music and musical instruments ....
... local musicians playing all kind of instruments ...

... decorating and giving the finishing touch to the big wooden chariot wheels  ...
A guide brochure -  celebrating Bisket Jatra from Bhaktapur, Tourism Department Committee, Taumodhi, Bhaktapur, Nepal
Itinerary of the festival - let's celebrate Bisket Jatra peacefully ....
Newspaper clipping  Kantipur 

- Nepali New Year and Bisket Jatra - The famous Bisket Jatra, generally celebrated by locals of Bhaktapur for nine days and eight nights in every New Year as per the established tantrum method has begun on Monday for this year.

Mainly, a pole decorated with the banner of Lord Indra will be erected on the last day of Chaitra and it is pulled down in the evening the following day (Nepali News Year´s Day) after marking the Lingo Jatra with fanfare at Bhelukhel, Bhaktapur.

The Jatra that dates back to the Lichchhibi period starts with the procession of chariot carrying the palanquins of Hindu deities across the town square.

In one of the most exciting annual events in the Kathmandu valley, a huge chariot carrying images of the god Bhairab is hauled by locals to Khalna Tole. The creaking and swaying chariot lumbers around town, pausing for a huge tug of war between the eastern and western sides of town.

After the battle the chariots head to Khalna Tole, where a huge 25m-high pole is erected in the stone base. RSS

 Bhaktapur at a Glance
    Established in the 8th century A.D
    Total municipal are of Bhaktapur 6.88 sq km
    Population density on an average 145 per/ha.
    Main occupation of inhabitant- Agriculture
    Secondary occupations are waving, woodcarving, metal crafts, clay work and stone carving business5_storied_temple
    Only producer of Nepali National Cap.
    Famous for good Yogurt production
    Enlisted in the World Heritage list in 1979
    Example of living heritage & medieval town of the Newars.
    “The cleanest and least polluted city in the country.”
    Decorated with the Peace Award of the UNESCO in Asia and Pacific in 1999.
    First City in the Country to launch college with science, management, engineering& architecture stream for the community in the modest tuition fees.
    E.A. Powell’s (London) observation – “Were there nothing else in Nepal save the Durbar Square of Bhadgaon (Bhaktapur), it would still be amply worth making a journey halfway round the globe to see”...... source - Bhaktapur Municipality

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All information on the Taste of Nepal blog are restricted use under copyright law. You may not re-use words, stories, photographs, or other posted material without the explicit written consent and proper credit to Jyoti Pathak. If you would like to use any materials here, please contact me.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2013 - Happy Nepali New Year! (Baisakh 1, 2070 B.S.)

Happy Nepali New Year! (Baisakh 1, 2070 B.S.)

The color of peace, prosperity and happiness at the entrance of Nepali house

Wishing all my blog readers -  A Happy Nepali New Year! Shubh Nav Varsha! (Baisakh 1, 2070 - bikram-sambat) – May Peace, Love and Prosperity follow you always and forever!

नव वष॔ २०७० को मंगलमय शुभकामना!
The Nepalese festivals are dated according to the traditional “religious” Lunar Calendar in the same sequence. An exception is New Year's Day, which always falls in the middle of April, observed throughout Nepal as the first day of the official Nepalese solar Calendar, i.e., the first day of Baisakh. This day is an official holiday for Nepal. 

The most important New Year festival in the Valley is held at Bhaktapur City, located fourteen kilometers east of Kathmandu. This festival is known as Bisket Jatra meaning the festival after the death of the serpent. The main attraction of the festival is the erection of the 'lingo', a ceremonial pole, a thick, shorn tree-trunk some eighty feet in length. This is an exciting operation since the pole, supported by bamboos and pulled by heavy ropes, must be made to rest in the center... it's a source hole of a large pile of cemented rocks. Large crowds from other town of the Valley assemble to watch this festival. During the week Bhairav, Bhadrakaii and other goddesses are dragged in chariots in the town. This is the biggest festival of Bhaktapur.  The new year of Birkram Sambat is one of the many festivals of Nepal marked by parties, family gathering, the exchange of good wishes and participation in rituals to ensure good fortune in the coming year. Source - Kathmandu Metropolitan Page
As we approach the Nepali New Year 2070 (bikram sambat), I would like to celebrate it by uploading images of several decorated floating flower containers placed doorways, walkways, pathways, and entrances of Nepali houses, restaurants, hotels, offices, banks and public buildings to welcome guests. It is a symbol of Nepali hospitality which we call it athiti satkaarIf you have visited Nepal or live in Nepal, you probably have seen many decorated antique brass or copper khadkalo (containers) with beautiful seasonal flowers floating in the water. Sometimes the decorated flower pot has several small floating candles or oil diyo  that signifies welcome, good luck, happiness, enlightenment and healing.  I have been capturing the images of these floating flower containers for a few years from different locations. I hope you will find each and every image unique.  
... show-stopper display - this three tired antique looking large planter is filled with yellow Flaming Trumpet Vine or Flame Vine (khursani phool) flowers, and stunning bougainvillea.
... the brass khadkalo pot (large copper or brass traditional pot used for religious purpose)  planter displays elegant and exceptional floating flower arrangementThe attractive pansies flower is surrounded by flaming trumpet (winter-spring blooming flower).
Large and wide antique copper khadkalo pot with floating leaves and stunning carnation welcomes you!
... garlands of Marigold and floating petals of flowers adorn this beautiful brass pot with astamangal (eight auspicious signs)  which is made by old world artisan techniques in Nepal.
...creative display with the flower of the season wishing everyday of the New Year glow with good cheer and happiness to you and your family!

... creating such a beautiful work of art! Nature, water and tranquility right in the floating bowl.
Welcoming visitors with red rose petals filled beautiful hand-crafted brass metal khadkalo pot.
... perfect for porch and entrance - denoting welcome and cheers ...
... this beautiful pink, white, yellow and deep purple floating garden is sending you warm wishes ...
... walking through the stone paved streets of Kathmandu and spotting this beautiful display of floating flower pot - several deep red blossoms of Nepali variety of Poinsettias (lalpatte - came from tall tree), along with delightful petals of yellow Marigold flower.
... show-stopper display ... "Aaaha kasto Raamro" from the visitors - enjoy the little things in life!
... immerse in the cultural tour of Nepal....
...this floating display is saying, "be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are, when you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you" - Buddha
... a beautiful purple flower pot to celebrate the coming warm weather!
... gorgeous antique khadkalo pot - the water lilies with small leaf is covering the entire pot, but some yellow and orange marigold with floating candles adds highlight of color throughout ...
... this design really catches your eyes ...petals from Marigold and Poinsettias are floating in the bowl of water.
... looking and admiring at the beautiful terracotta pot with ferns and Gladiolus ...
...  bright colored Bougainvillea in a brass kalasha placed in the enterway of the house to welcome guests It is a pot or pitcher with a narrow neck and a wide mouth that is used for ritual worship.
... beautiful rose petals are spreading happiness in the New Year and symbolizing the beginning of a better tomorrow...
... extraordinary display of most loved flower of Nepal - Marigold ....
... the highly sought after and cherished flower Marigold floating in an antique looking copper pot ...

... simple floating flower container and tranquil atmosphere ...
Classic elegance - snow white Jasmine flowers are displayed at a rustic-brown garden pot placed in the walkways.  The best floating perfumed aromatherapy in the world!
... heavenly scent and tranquility coming out of this Jasmine chameli flowers.
... looking at this beautiful display of floating flower bowl in a pedestal, placed in a private entrance of a Nepali home ....
... come and see this rainbow of color floating flower and petals - beautifully designed brass pot gives the feeling of - heart of boundless love for all in the world.
....this design really catches your eyes - the leaf has covered the entire pot and a few colorful flowers are floating on top - flowers that are light and flat are the best for floating in water.  Heavy flowers will sink at the bottom after few hours.
... this antique copper khadkalo pot displays marigold garland floating on top of a large green leaf ...these days, Nepali Khadkalos are the reproductions of authentic handcrafted ones.  They were used since the ancient times for transporting and storing grains, for religious purpose, weddings, water storage and even cooking animals feeds.

...Antique copper Kalash with welcoming sign, "Swaagatam" in front of army barracks near the old palaces of Basantpur, Hanuman Dhoka area in Kathmandu
... attractive display of floating spring flowers in a freshly shined brass pot.  It is kept in the hallway of a hotel for a warm welcome and cheer. 
Sharing some of my favorite pictures (the next three) are captured during the festival of Dashain -  is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by all Nepalese. It is not only the longest festival of the country but is also the one which is most anticipated. The festival falls around September–October, starting from the bright lunar fortnight and ending on the day of full moon.
Sukunda - an elaborate oil lamp  - stunning brass Sukunda display with exceptionally beautiful flowers of Nepal - this display really catches your eye..
... the Paanas (brass lamp) at the doorway during Dashain festival - decorated with marigold garlands...

....beautiful palette include yellow Primrose Jasmin (jaaee), and attractive pink flower and leaves.

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday. Naya Barshako Shubha-Kaamanaa!

Copyright Information

All information on the Taste of Nepal blog are restricted use under copyright law. You may not re-use words, stories, photographs, or other posted material without the explicit written consent and proper credit to Jyoti Pathak. If you would like to use any materials here, please contact me.