Changing Trends in Teej Celebration

People throng Pashupati Temple for Teej festival

People throng Pashupati Temple for Teej festival

“Teejko lahar aayo bari lai
Teejko lahar aayo bari lai …..”

Every year as the festival of Teej — arguably the most important festival for Hindu women — approaches, women and girls get pumped up and gather to celebrate.

Dancing to the aforementioned tune was a group of women, clad in red and green saris and kurtas, on Monday at the ‘Dar Eating Program’ at Amrapali Banquet, Naxal. These women were friends, colleagues and acquaintances, who had taken their time off to come out and celebrate the spirit of Teej.

As Teej neared, to be celebrated nation-wide on August 24 this year, streets of Kathmandu were crowded by women and girls wearing red saris and attractive jewelries. Previously considered a one-day affair, women of various age-groups these days gather in banquets to eat Dar weeks before the day of Teej.

Women sing and dance at Pashupatinath Temple during the Teej festival in Kathmandu

Women sing and dance at Pashupatinath Temple during the Teej festival in Kathmandu The three-day festival, commemorating the union of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, involves sumptuous feasts and rigid fasting. Hindu women pray for marital bliss, the well-being of their spouses and children, and the purification of their own bodies and souls during this period of religious fasting.

Dar is a name given to the meal consumed by women a day before the day of Teej, particularly because they are to observe fast, without even drinking a single drop of water, the following day.

Dar comprises of protein and carbohydrate-rich food, which when consumed in ample amount would fill for the hungry stomachs the following day as women observe fast until sundown. Hindu married women believe that fasting on the day of Teej will provide longevity to their husbands. In case of unmarried women, the fast is believed to earn them a suitable match.

Singing and dancing at pashupatinath temple.

Singing and dancing at pashupatinath temple.

Popularity of Banquets and event halls
The tradition of Teej and Dar, however, has adapted a few changes over the years. Dar eating programs are organized in banquets and halls, outside the borders of family home and relationships. Banquets and event halls, undeniably, have benefitted hugely from this trend. Apart from the wedding season, these kinds of events earn them ample revenue.

Ishara Koirala, a master’s student at Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, said such programs were good excuses for women to take some time off and socialize. Perhaps the tradition has after all not changed much as compared to old times when women used to gather around Pati and Pauwa and sing both happy and sad verses in relations to their lives. “These events are not much different from what used to be, since women get to catch up with their counterparts, relax and socialize,” remarked Koirala.

HAPPY TEEJ FESTIVAL IN NEPAL

HAPPY TEEJ FESTIVAL IN NEPAL

Forty-year-old Bishnu Lama, who owns a canteen in Sundhara, recalled a recent invite to Yak Party Palace, Pulchowk for Dar and shared that it was fun as well as relaxing to be at a place away from daily-life nuances.

Previously, Bishnu would organize Dar eating program at her house. She used to cook a variety of dishes for her relatives and friends. Though the food items remained the same, she said, going to the banquet reduced half her efforts. “Giving responsibility to catering services and banquet halls to arrange the food along with the venue reduced half of the pressure off our heads.”

Changing fasting culture
Changes are evident not only when it comes to how and where these Dar programs are being organized, but also how the fasting culture is observed.

“Fasting culture, over the years, has changed,” remarked 86-year-old Aruna Pokharel. She lives in Baneshwor and was visiting Mahadevsthan Temple of Koteshwor on Monday. She is a regular visitor to the temple. “When I was young and able, I would fast every Monday during the month of Shrawan and in Teej. I would start my Teej fast with a small puja, eat nothing, not even a single drop of water, and break my fast only after sundown,” said Aruna.

However, with passing years, she has observed a big difference in the way women, especially younger ones, observe fasting in Teej. Referencing to Purnima, her 19-year-old granddaughter, who had followed her to the temple, she said, “My granddaughter fasts only if she feels like it and my daughter-in-law eats fruits throughout the day even when she is ‘technically fasting’.”

Teej Festival - Hari Talika

Teej Festival – Hari Talika

Sometimes, Aruna gets exasperated by how lenient her family members have become in terms of following age-old rituals. “I tell them periodically that rituals are not to be meddled with, but they don’t listen to me. If you are going to fast anyway, why not do it right?”

Undeniably, the norms behind fasting have changed. Growing up, one can find varied narratives being provided to girls and women regarding the fasting tradition. While a working sister-in-law may eat a few fruits during the fast, stay-at-home moms preach stronger guidelines on how to be religious and thorough about it. Some say avoiding salt and vegetables work as a fine substitute, while others insist complete abstinence from eating and drinking.

Purnima argued, “If fasting is all about staying pure and showing my devotion to God, I can do that by eating as well. No amount of spiritual bliss received through fasting overcomes a hangry (hungry and angry) state if I am to work under a deadline and be productive throughout the day.”

Source: Myrepublica

18 leopards dead in a year

KASKI, AUG 21 – In a recent tally, at least 18 leopards have been found dead in the jungles of Pokhara since the past year. The toll apparently increased since many of the injured and sick leopards could not get timely treatment. According to the District Forest Office in Kaski, the death toll is rising at an alarming rate since the district does not have a veterinary specialising on the treatment of wild animals.

leopard

“Most of these leopards were found dead at separate locations in the district,” assistant DFO Madhav Prasad Baral said, “those found injured or in a sick state died for want of treatment.” The DFO said that the 18 leopards were found dead between August 2013 and August 2014. The injured or sickly leopards are often found straying out of forests and entering human settlements in search of easy prey. Few months ago, around half a dozen leopards were found dead in the district within a week. Authorities suspected that they might have died of consuming poison.

According to the existing laws, a person found to have poached wildlife will be sentenced to two years in jail and fined Rs 10,000.

Forest officials in the district admitted that incidents of wild animals being killed by traps or by feeding them carcasses of domestic animals treated with medicines are increasing of late.

Source: ekantipur.com

TEEJ FESTIVAL: PADT expects over three lakh devotees

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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.

Teej festival in nepal

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.”

PADT has also made arrangements for puja for those devotees who do not want to stand in queues, for which devotees need to pay Rs 1,000.

The elderly and people with disabilities also need stand in lines, according to PADT. Around 10 health camps with doctors will also be set up. An information centre and nine temporary and mobile toilets have already been placed around the temple area.

According to Subedi, as many as 4,043 cops, both in uniform and civvies from Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force led by a SSP, will be deployed around the temple area for security. Of them, 226 are women security personnel who will be stationed closer to the temple. The entire area will be under CCTV camera surveillance. Men except security personnel, PADT officials and journalists, will be barred from entering the designated area around the temple throughout the day.

Source: The Himalayan Times

260,000 foreign tourists visit Langtang

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KATHMANDU, Nepal– As many as 260,000 foreign tourists paid visit to Langtang National Park in mountainous Rasuwa district since its establishment. According to a report provided by the National Park Office, as many as 259, 887 tourists visited the Langtang, Gosainkunda and other tourism areas in the district. The National Park started keeping the records of the tourist arrivals since 1978 and collected revenue around Rs. 292 million so far.

Langtang-lirung-and-kimshung

Tourists from different 36 countries including the USA, Germany, Japan, Australia, Israel, and India have visited the district, according to the office. The Langtang National Park is the fourth national park in Nepal and was established in 1975 as the first Himalayan national park. Located in the Central Himalayas, it is the nearest national park from Kathmandu.

The area extends from 32 km north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. The park covers an area of 1,710 square kms.

The vegetation in the park includes the subtropical forest, temperate oak forest, pine forests, alpine scrub and grasses.

The Langtang region is equally significant for transit route for migratory birds.

Source: nepalmountainnews

150 species of birds under threat

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    Nepal, the land of splendid nature and rich culture is waiting for you exploration through its different facets.
  • EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK - 17 DAYS
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    Sagamartha (Everest) Base Camp trek takes us into one of the most spectacular regions of Nepal where the Sherpa culture thrives amongst the highest peaks in the world.
  • KAILASH MANSAROVAR YATRA BY OVERLAND - 14 DAYS
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    Mt. Kailash (6714m) is the most sacred mountain in Asia.
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KATHMANDU: As many as 150 species of birds are in endangered list in Nepal of late.

The birds have been at risk with the cleanup of their habitats, stated a report recently made public by the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation and Bird Protection Association. Bird protection expert Khadananda Poudel said that the main reason behind gradual disappearance of bird species are population growth followed by rising deforestation and timber smuggling. He further said the rampant use of modern technology has also posed threat to the existence of birds. “A type of radiation emerges from the use of modern technology that causes shortening the lifespan of birds”, he claimed.

bird_watching_tour

Poudel went on saying that the Association has been working to update and protect the bird species under threat.

The study revealed that various bird species including eagle, Rato Lahanche, small-sized peacock, crane, white vulture, Dangar vulture, small brown vulture and golden vulture are in endangered list.

Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: 22 August, 2014

Father’s day in Nepal

Kushe Aausi or Pitritarpani Aausi or Gokarne Aausi

(बाबुको मुख हेर्ने दिन, गोकर्णे औंसी, कुशेऔंसी)

Nepal has more than 70 ethnic groups with almost all have their own tradition and languages. The people of different communities and tribe have their own way of celebrating father’s day. Some communities celebrate it empty stomach early in the morning and some communities celebrate it in the evening.

Nepali Hindu Ritual

The most auspicious day to honor one’s father is Gokarna Aunsi . It falls on the dark fortnight of Bhadra or in August or in early September. It is also known as Kuse Aunsi. The Nepali religion, tradition and culture hold a lot of reverence for a father. He is considered the pillar of strength, respect and support of a family. The most auspicious day to honor one’s father is Gokarna Aunsi . It falls on the dark fortnight in August or in early September. A day when children show their gratitude and appreciation for his guidance and teachings in life. Sons and daughters, near or far, come with presents and confections to spend the day with their fathers. Children spend their hoarded coins on presents, which expresses honor and love in their own special ways. The streets are a gay scene of married daughters on their way to their parents’ home with delicacies. After the offering of gifts, they touch their father’s feet with their foreheads, this act of veneration is done by the sons only, and the daughters touch the hand. The ceremony is also known as “looking upon father’s face”.

However, all the communities prepare foods and tasty feast in and serve it to their father. The celebration and fun of the festival depends upon the place, climate and ethnicity.