Changing Trends in Teej Celebration

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

Janai Purnima Festival

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.

VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival at Lele

VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival at Lele
VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival

Rice Planting Festival 2018

The Village Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal (VITOF-Nepal) is going to celebrate Rice Planting Festival in Kathmandu this year. VITOF Nepal is going to organize the rice planting festival in collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board on 29 June at Godawari Municipality of Lele, Lalitpur. According to the Chairman of the Forum, Ram Sapkota, this festival is organized to promote the culture, tradition, monuments, and sights of Newari culture.

Dipak Dahal, vice president and media coordinator of VITOF Nepal said that most of the works have already been completed and this festival will play a great role to strengthen the agricultural sector. The festival is coordinated by Rajkumar Dhamala.

VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival

Rice Planting Festival

He also mentioned that that the festival will be accompanied by Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation minister, Rabindra Adhikari, and other organizations. VITOF Nepal has been organizing this festival since many years. Lele holds a different culture, traditional community and beautiful natural geography. Thus, it has a great potential of tourism. A short trek will also be organized that day.

Source: Tourismmail

China ups travelling charges for Kailash Manasarovar

China ups travelling charges for Kailash Manasarovar
Kailash Yatra Map

Kailash Yatra Map

Jun 11, 2018-China has abruptly raised travelling charges for devotees going on the Kailash Manasarovar tour to the distress of Nepali and Indian tour operators. Hindus believe that bathing in Lake Manasarovar and drinking its water will cleanse them from all sin.

As per the new tariff that went into effect on June 3, pilgrims travelling to Kailash Manasarovar over the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route will have to pay an extra $180 per head, and pilgrims taking the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung route will have to pay an additional $140 per head.

However, the new rates will not apply to pilgrims who have already purchased tour package this year. “Instead, it has created a huge burden for tour operators,” said a Nepali tour operator who did not wish to be named. “The new rules that were imposed unilaterally by the China-India Pilgrims Service Centre in China are expected to create a burden of Rs360 million for Nepali operators alone.”

Kailash Yatra by Helicopter

Kailash Yatra by Helicopter

“We are just a tour operator. We cannot afford to pay such a huge amount of money,” the operator said, adding that each operator would have to pay at least Rs15 million from their own pockets.

Until last year, the devotees had to pay $1,085 per person for a three-night package using the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route. Now it has gone up to $1,265 per person. Similarly, a five-night package using the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung route which used to cost $895 per person will now cost $1,035 per person.

This is a mandatory fee that needs to be paid to the China-India Pilgrims Service Centre. According to operators, the new rule was enforced immediately after Wan Quan Lin was appointed the CEO of the centre.

The fee covers food, hotel, vehicle service and guide as the centre does not allow Nepali or Indian tour operators to provide these services on their own.

“The centre has also barred Indian pilgrims from carrying food, and they have to eat at the Chinese hotel and restaurants whether they like it or not,” said operators, adding that the fee was non-refundable if any pilgrim chooses not to eat the food served by the Chinese restaurants. “It’s a kind of cartel imposed by Chinese authorities after they saw pilgrim numbers from Nepal growing each year.”

Kailash Mansarovar

Kailash Mansarovar

This year, tour operators are optimistic about receiving around 20,000 to 25,000 Indian pilgrims. Last year, nearly 15,000 Indians visited the holy sites The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra normally begins in May and lasts till September. There are five routes to Mt Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Two of them, Uttarakhand and Nathula, Sikkim, are in India. They are the longest and most expensive routes. It takes nearly three weeks to reach the holy place using these routes.

Nepal offers three routes to the holy sites through the Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi border points. However, there are no movements from Tatopani after the Chinese government closed the Tatopani border point in 2015. Pilgrims have also started to go through Rasuwagadhi after the road was opened this year.

According to operators, the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Humla route costs IRs175,000 per person, including the cost of flying by fixed with aircraft from Nepalgunj to Simikot, and by helicopter from Simikot to Hilsa. The package from Rasuwagadhi is IRs125,000 per person. Due to the cost factor, around 25 percent of the pilgrims are expected to choose the Rasuwagadhi route this year.

Source: Kathmandupost

Visit Nepal Year 2020

Visit Nepal Year 2020
Visit Nepal Year 2020

Visit Nepal Year 2020

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has planned the 2020 as Visit Nepal Year with the aim to increase the number of tourists to 20 Lakhs (20 Millions). Tourism vision 2020 Nepal has been set soon after the MOCTCA had planned to celebrate Visit Nepal Year in 2018 which was put off due to the delay in construction of airports (Pokhara and Lumbini), re-construction of heritage sites and roads. So, Visit Nepal Year 2020 will be the best time to celebrate the tourism vision year as the reconstruction of the heritage sites is expected to be completed before 2020.

The Earthquake 2015 hit Nepal badly resulting in death of 2300 people and thousands of victim and homeless. After the Earthquake, the flock of tourists in Nepal decreased. Now, the tourism of Nepal has taken its path to grow and Nepal is receiving good number of tourists in the year 2017 and 2018. The announcement of the Visit Nepal Year 2020 will give a positive message to the world and the campaign will attract more tourists to Nepal.

Recently, Nepal Government has published the official logo for Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.

HIMALAYAN TRAVEL MART 2018

HIMALAYAN TRAVEL MART 2018
Himalayan Travel Mart 2018

Himalayan Travel Mart 2018

The Himalayan Travel Mart 2018 sets out with the aim to re-define Adventure Tourism and establish Nepal as a Gateway to the Himalayas. The event is scheduled from June 1-3, 2018, in Kathmandu.

The mart is a Business to Business (B to B) event and shall be attended by Buyers (interested in Nepal and the Himalaya Region) from Europe, North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and CIS, Asia and Gulf. Sellers are expected from Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Indo China, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua and Central Asia.

Himalayan Travel Mart 2018

Himalayan Travel Mart 2018

The event will comprise a one-day conference on June 1, on key topics related to Hospitality and Tourism, Aviation and Management, with international speakers from around the world. On June 2 will be the international bloggers’ meet conference as in 2018.Buyers’ and sellers’ meet will be on June 2-3.

Himalayan Travel Mart 2018 Conference

Himalayan Travel Mart 2018 Conference

The event is coordinated by PATA Nepal Chapter in partnership with Nepal Tourism Board, PATA International, and travel industry of Nepal and pertinent stakeholders.