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Nag Panchami today

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KATHMANDU — Hindus across the country are observing Nagh Panchami or Sukla Panchami festival on Thursday. The festival of Nag Panchami or the serpent deity festival is observed across the nation by pasting the pictures of Nag or the serpent deity above the main gate of the houses today.

Devotees from several areas would visit the Nagpokhari to worship the serpent deity. The pond, which is situated at Naxal, has been decorated for this day. The idol of the Nag is situated in the middle of this serpent pond.

There are many legends and folklore in Hindu mythology narrated to the importance of worship of snakes.

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Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the moonlit-fortnight in the month of Saun (between July and August). This is the time when serpents invariably come out of their holes that often get inundated with rainwater to seek shelter. As such they pose a danger to the man.

The festival that falls in the rainy season is believed to counter the increased possibility of snake bites during this time.

A big fare is being organised at Changunarayan Temple, which lies a top of small hill of Bhaktapur. The temple is visited by a large crowed of devotees during the day.

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Indra Jatra begins

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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.

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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.

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