KATHMANDU — The annual Janai Purnima, also known as the Raksha Bandhan festival, being observed across the country today.
On the occasion, especially Hindu Brahmins and Chhetris who have undergone the ritual of Bratabandha change their Janai (cotton string worn diagonally from the left shoulder to the right waist) and also tie the Raksha Bandhan around the wrist of the right hand.
The tagadharis or those who wear the ‘Janai’ change the sacred thread today after having a haircut and a bath on the occasion of ‘Janai Purnima’, also known as ‘Rishi Tarpani’.
The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by Brahmin priests as a symbol of protection from fear and disease.
The days is also observed as ‘Kwanti Purnima’ by Newar community.Kwanti, a soup prepared from nine different beans, is a special delicacy added to the Nepali menu today.
People believe that the use of the sacred thread will bring them good luck. It is also believed that the Raksha Bandhan should be removed only on the day of Laxmi Puja during Tihar.
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.
Today, thousands of devotees worship Lord Shiva at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and at Kumbheswar in Lalitpur and other Shiva temples across the country and take holy dips in ponds and lakes and rivers.
Religious fairs are held at Gosainkunda, 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 also takes place at the Gosainkunda Lake and pilgrims come from faraway places to take a holy dip in this lake and other lakes nearby.Follow @gorkhapost
Indra Jatra begins
KATHMANDU — Indra Jatra, known as the biggest festival of the Kathmandu Valley, formally began on Friday with the erection of a wooden ceremonial pole (lingo) and the fluttering of a flag named after the Hindu God Indra at Hanumandhoka.
Indra Jatra, one of the biggest festivals of the Newar community, is dedicated to the god of rain and king of heaven, Indra and celebrated for eight days.
The festival formally begins with the erection of a lingo (sacred wooden pole) at Hanumandhoka in Basantapur Darbar Square.
During the celebrations, Lakhe dances are performed on the streets of Kathmandu. The dance is one of the most popular dances of Nepal with performers wearing Lakhe costume and masks.
There are various mythical stories related to the festival. One such popular story is about Indra who came down to earth to get a special flower parijat and Karkalo (taro) for his mother, who was fasting and worshiping Goddess Basundharadevi.
Upon landing in the Kathmandu Valley, Indra is said to have intruded into a garden to pluck the special flower for his mother. But when the the garden owner found this out, he used Tantrik powers to capture Indra and tied him with ropes in public for humiliation.
Knowing her son is tied up, Indra’s mother came down to the earth and promised the garden owner that she’d provide rain for a better harvest in return for her son.Follow @gorkhapost
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