Shree Krishna Janmashtami

Happy Krishna Janmashtami

Happy Krishna Janmashtami

As Hindus across the world celebrated the Shree Krishna Janmashtami festival on Thursday, thousands visited the historic Krishna Temple in Patan of Lalitpur.

The Dwapar-era god, also considered the eighth among 10 avatars of Lord Bishnu, Lord Krishna is believed to have born at the midnight of the eighth day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra (Bhadra Krishna Ashtami).

Shree Krishna Janmashtami, more simply referred to as Janmashtami, is a Hindu holiday taking place every year in the month of Bhadrapada. On the Gregorian Calendar, it falls sometime in August or September.

Krishna Janmashtami

Nepalese Hindu devotees gather to celebrate the birth of Hindu Lord Krishna ‘Krishna Janmashtami’ at Lalitpur.

The holiday is very popular in Nepal and throughout the Hindu world. It is meant to commemorate the 8th birth, or avatar, of the god Krishna. It is celebrated as a general triumph of good over evil. Hindu epic tales tell of Krishna’s battles with evil beings and his ultimate victory over the forces of darkness.

To mark the day, there will be performances at midnight that look back to the epic battle of Krishna against the evil King Kansa, when it was also very dark and windy. Many devotees will fast, worship Krishna, and offer such things as milk and cheese curds to him since he is thought to particularly enjoy dairy products.

Shree Krishna Janmashtami

Shree Krishna Janmashtami

Janmashtami celebrations include traditional singing and dancing, reenactments of the “life cycle of Krishna,” visits to festively decorated Hindu temples, and exchanging of gifts. Some temples are lit up as the crowds gather in the night to offer flowers, food, and candy to a Krishna idol.

Those who cannot attend temple, however, still celebrate with miniature Krishna idols that are arranged inside beautifully decorated cradles.

Tourist inflow via air sees exponential growth

Visitors to Nepal

Visitors to Nepal

Tourist inflow to Nepal jumped by 46.8 per cent in the first six months of 2017, indicating signs of recovery in the tourism industry that was shattered by the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 and the subsequent trade disruptions.

According to the Department of Immigration, the country received a total of 460,237 tourists in the first half of this year via air route, against 313,512 in the corresponding period of the previous year. Tourist arrivals in the first half of this year surpassed the figure of 2014, before the earthquake struck when country had received 412,461 tourists in the first six months.

Travel and tour entrepreneurs are upbeat about the revival of the tourism industry along with the increase in tourist arrivals.

“The earthquake and fuel crisis had adversely affected the flow of tourists in 2015 and 2016, but though the figure has increased this year, it is still a far cry from our target to bring in two million tourists by 2020,” said Madhusudan Acharya,president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA).

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Tourism entrepreneurs have cited weak infrastructure and high airfare as the major obstacles in tourist arrival growth.

“Nepal has been included among the top 10 travel destinations in 2017 by the Lonely Planet, a leading travel guide. Despite the positive message disseminated across the world, tourist flow is still tepid,” according to Binayak Shah, general secretary of Hotel Association Nepal.

Tourist arrival was at a record high in 2012, when the country had received 803,000 visitors by air. Entrepreneurs have said that the country is likely to receive even more number of tourists this year as the inflow of tourists is normally higher in the second half. The period between September and November is considered as the best tourist season in Nepal.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

HAN General Secretary Shah informed that along with the large number of international organisations working in Nepal for post-quake reconstruction activities, the flow of visitors also increased as the reconstruction works gathered momentum since the beginning of this year. He stressed on the need to expand the country’s only international airport — Tribhuvan International Airport — and improve road connectivity.

“Air traffic congestion, high airfare and bleak road conditions are the major bottlenecks to raise the number of tourists,” Shah asserted. He alleged that the government is not serious towards developing critical infrastructure even though the private sector has substantially increased investment in the sector.

Visitor in Nepal

Visitor in Nepal

Shah also pointed out the prospect of bringing in more tourists from neighbouring India and China as the number of outbound travellers has been growing in these countries. Though the number of outbound travellers has been rising in India and China, the country has failed to tap the potential due to high airfare, he stated. “The airfare to Kathmandu is relatively higher at $350 for a 30-minute flight.”

In the January to June period this year, the country received a high number of tourists from India with a total of 89,196 visitors from the southern neighbour followed by China with 52,084 travellers via air. The country had received 54,224 tourists from India and 33,991 tourists from China in the same period of the previous year.

Source: Thehimalayantimes

Janai Purnima Festival

Janai Purnima

A toddler gets her wrist colourful with doro (Hindu’s traditional threads of different colours) from a Pandit (Hindu Priest) celebrating Janai Poornima

The tagadharis or those who wear the ‘Janai’ (the sacred thread) around their bodies from the left shoulder change the sacred thread on Tuesday after having a haircut and a bath on the occasion of ‘Janai Purnima’, also known as ‘Rishi Tarpani’.

This festival observed by the Hindus, especially of the Shaiva sect, on the full moon day in the Nepali month of Saun is also popularly known as ‘Gunhu Punhi’ in the Newar community.

According to the time-honoured tradition, the people receive the ‘Rakshya Bandhan’ thread, which is tied around the wrist as an amulet. The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by Brahmin priests as a symbol of protection from fear and disease. They also observe the occasion as ‘Kwanti Purnima’.

Kwanti Purnima

Kwanti a soup prepared from nine different beans, is a special delicacy added to the Nepali menu today.

The ‘Kulabarna Tantra’, a Tantrik scripture, says that the soup is highly nutritious and keeps diseases away.

In the Terai region, there is a tradition in which sisters tie an attractive ‘Rakhi’ around the wrist of their brothers wishing them long life and prosperity.

Thousands of devotees worship lord Shiva at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and at Kumbheswor in Lalitpur and take holy dips in ponds and lakes.

Janai Purnima

People in Pashupatinath Area gather to get Raksha Bandhan tied around their wrists on the occasion of Janai Purnima.

Religious fairs are held at Gosaikunda, an alpine area in Rasuwa District, and at Dansanghu, Triveni in Jumla district to observe the festival with offerings of worship to Lord Shiva. A big religious fair takes place at the Gosaikunda Lake and pilgrims come from faraway places to take a holy dip in this lake and other lakes nearby.

Religious fairs take place today at Pashupati and Manichud of Kathmandu; Gosaikunda of Rasuwa; Kumbheshwar of Lalitpur; Panchpokhari of Sindhupalchowk; Janakpurdham, Dhanush Sagar and Ganga Sagar of Dhanusha; Dansanghu of Jumla and Trivenidham of Nawalparasi.

Janai Purnima

The Buddhists observe this day in commemoration of the day the Lord Gautama Buddha defeated the evil power of lust. This episode is well-described in the Buddhist scripture ‘Lalitbistar’. A special fair takes place at Swayambhunath of Kathmandu today for this reason.

Source: Kathmandupost

Naag Panchami in Nepal

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami is the day of snakes. Nags are worshiped this day in Nepal. Nags are snakes and Panchami means the fifth day after no-moon day.

Nags are worshiped on the fifth day following the no-moon (aushi). Hence, the day is called Nag Panchami. Aushi means no-moon day in Nepali.

What is Nag?

Nags are deity snakes or special snakes. Those snakes have especial roles in Hindu Mythologies.

There are various mythological beliefs about Nagpanchami and its celebration.

Mahabharata tells that Lord Krishna conquered Nag Kalia and put an end to his evil deeds on the day of Shrawan Panchami. People believe that is the reason why people started celebrating this panchami as Nag Panchami.

Kathmandu valley used to be a big lake. Nags became very angry when human drained the lake to make it livable. To protect themselves against the anger of Nagas, people gave nags certain areas as pilgrimage destinations, and promise to worship them on the day, returning harmony in nature. That is continued till date.

Lord Bhrama’s son Kashyap rishi had thirteen wives namely Aditi, Dit, Kadru, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Sauravi, Vinata, Tamra, Krodhavasa, Ida, Khasa, and Muni. Aditi gave birth to Devta, Diti to Garud, Kadroo to Nags, Danu to Daitya.

Those Nags were the rulers of Patal lok.The great eight nags are Ananta, Vashuki, Padhmanavha, Kambala, Shankhapala, Dhartarashtra, Takshaka, and Kaliya. These Nags were very powerful and worshiped.

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami Pooja

How is Nag Panchami celebrated in Nepal

In this day, Nepali traditionally post pictures of Nags above the doors of their homes to keep off evil spirits. They worship the nag by offering a symbol of milk (the white color liquid from the paste of rice). People keep milk for snakes near snake holes.

People make cottons garland, use cow dung and rice flour’s serpent’s from and worship it with cow’s milk, lava, barley, sesame, nuts and with some other religious items. It is believed that if Nag-Panchami is observed properly every year the Nags provide us good health wealth and blessing during our life. If Nags are angry they make us sick and no medicine can heal.

Nag Pooja Celebration at Nag Pokhari Naxal

Nag Pooja Celebration at Nag Pokhari Naxal

Puran says the earth is lifted by Shesh Nag on his head. Lord Vishnu is sleeping on its coil inside the Ocean. Kali Nag, Bashuki Nag, Astha Nag, Padma Nag; and the Karkot Nags are the very powerful Nags.

Scripture explains that without Nags’ help there will be no rain.So people worship Nags for the cause of water, offer prayers to Nags, and place food items such as milk and honey in their fields for Nags.

Few men wearing demon masks dance in the streets as a part of a Nag Panchami ritual.

We have our own myths and legends surrounding Nags, which lead us to celebrate Nag Panchami on a large scale.

Signs that proves Nepali Tourism Industry is reviving

I AM IN NEPAL NOW

I AM IN NEPAL NOW

The earthquake of 2015 and the trade embargo by India over the promulgation of the charter alienating the ethnic Madhesis group hit hard the Nepali tourism sector. But after a couple of years the tourism of industry is standing back. Here are the signs that proves Nepali tourism industry is reviving.

Increasing numbers of Hotels:

According to the data of the Tourism Department a total of 5 hundred and 85 tourist hotels are registered amongst which 10 are the five star rated. The Everest Hotel in Kathmandu is out of track after the earthquake in 2015.

Likewise, there are 3 four star, 31 three star, 43 two star, 33 one star and 4 hundred 65 tourist hotels. Along with this 2 hundred 27 homestays also has registered itself in the tourism department.

The flow of Tourists

According to the data from the Immigration Department of Nepal on 2016 a year after the major setback for the Nepali tourism industry about 7 Lakhs 29 Thousand 5 Hundred and 50 tourists came to Nepal. The Hotel Association of Nepal has set the target of increasing capacity of the hotels to hold 1. 8 Million Tourists by 2020. Within the 3 years the hotels in the Nepal are set to add about 4 thousand rooms to meet the target, half of these rooms are set to be added in the hotels of capital Kathmandu. This significantly will employ more people as one tourist can give employment opportunity to 12 people. In addition to it the Government of Nepal is set to announce the upcoming year as Tourism year.

The investment in the Tourism Sector of Nepal

The tourism sector of Nepal till now has investment of about 2 Hundred and 50 Billion rupees and 33 Billion rupees are in pipeline, set to be added. Amongst the tourism sectors the hotel or the hospitality sector of the Nepal is the major aspect to invite the tourists. Undermining the importance of the tourism an injection of 83 Billion Rupees is sure for the tourism sector of Nepal in coming 3 years. Amongst this the Government will be investing 8 Billion rupees and the private sector will share the remaining portion.

Employment by Tourism

Hotel Association Nepal’s President Amar man Shakya claims that the tourism sector of Nepal has created job opportunity to over 5 Lakhs people which is significant hike after the major setbacks in 2015.

Source: Tourismmail

Guru Purnima Festival

Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima

The Guru Purnima festival is being observed throughout the country today by paying reverence to all teachers.

The festival, also marked as Teacher’s Day, is observed on the full moon day in the Nepali month Ashadh as per the lunar calendar.

The day is dedicated to the gurus or one’s teacher who bestows the gayatri mantra for the first time during one’s bratabandh or the sacred thread ceremony, initiates one to reading and writing, reads out the vedic hymns during the religious rituals and other teachers in general.

A schoolgirl applies tika to her teachers during Guru Purnima or Teacher’s day, a festival dedicated to teachers.

Etymologically, the word ‘guru’ is made of two roots ‘gu’ and ‘ru’. Gu means darkness and ru means light. So, the word guru means the person who removes the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge as per the tantric and religious texts.

Our religion also sees the teacher as the embodiment of the Hindu triumvirate gods Brahma, Bishnu and Maheshwar. The teacher is also considered as a form of god like one’s parents.

Schools, colleges and various organisations are marking Guru Purnima today by organizing different programmes and paying homage to the teachers.

Happy Guru Purnima

Happy Guru Purnima

Today also commemorates the Vyas Jayanti or the birth anniversary of the sage Ved Byas who wrote the 18 puranas and 18 upapuranas which explain the four vedas.

Through the puranas and the upapuranas, Ved Byas has radiated the message of humanism ‘Propakara punyaya, papaya parapidanam’ which means you earn piety and righteousness through welfare and charity but are cursed if you harm or cause pain to others.

Source: Myrepublica