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Discussion Starter #21
Tiji Festival

The Tiji festival is a three-day ritual known as "The chasing of the Demons" and it is centered around the Tiji myth. Tiji tells the story of a deity named Dorje Jono who must battle against his demon father to save the Kingdom of Mustang from destruction. The demon father wreaks havoc on Mustang by creating a water shortage which, in this extremely arid land, is the most precious life-sustaining resource. Dorje Jono eventually defeats the demon and banishes him from the land.
Source: www.himalayandreamz.com

Mustang is Nepal's least populated district and has a distinct Buddhist identity and culture very similar to the Tibetans. It used to be a kingdom of its own until it was incorporated into Nepal and still has a royal family but without a title (all monarchies, national as well as sub-national, were abolished in Nepal in 2008).


www.merabsarpa.com


Tiji Festival First Dance
by Singapore Trekker, on Flickr



Untitled
by christophe.thomas, on Flickr



Tiji Festival in upper Mustang
by BuddhaNepalTreks, on Flickr



91__NE39042
by David Ducoin, on Flickr



104__NE37638
by David Ducoin, on Flickr



Tiji Festival First Dance 4
by Singapore Trekker, on Flickr



87__NE37488
by David Ducoin, on Flickr


To get a sense of what Mustang looks like: (also, entry into the area is regulated for non-Nepali citizens).


Mustang (Nepal)
by Jules Em, on Flickr



Mustang
by Jean Paul Meyer, on Flickr

Lo-Manthang, the ancient walled city where the kings of the former Kingdom of Mustang resided

Lo-Manthang
by Basanta Maharjan, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Dashain

During the month of Kartik in the Bikram Sambat calendar (late September and early October), the Nepalese people indulge in the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar lasting for 15 days and celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. Thorough Nepal the goddess Durga in all her manifestations are worshiped with innumerable pujas (Hindu rituals), abundant offerings and thousands of animal sacrifices.

Dashain commemorates a great victory of the gods over the wicked demons. One of the victory stories told is the Ramayan, where the lord Ram after a big struggle slaughtered Ravana, the fiendish king of demons. It is said that lord Ram was successful in the battle only when goddess Durga was evoked. The main celebration glorifies the triumph of good over evil and is symbolized by goddess Durga slaying the terrible demon Mahisasur, who terrorised the earth in the guise of a brutal water buffalo. The first nine days signify the nine days of ferrous battle between goddess Durga and the demon Mahisasur. The tenth day is the day when Mahisasur was slain and the last five days symbolise the celebration of the victory with the blessing of the goddess. Dashain is celebrated with great rejoice, and goddess Durga is worshiped throughout Nepal as the divine mother goddess.

In preparation for Dashain every home is cleansed and beautifully decorated, painted as an invitation to the mother goddess, so that she may visit and bless the house with good fortune. During this time the reunion of distant and nearby relatives occur in every household. The market is filled with shoppers seeking new clothing, gifts, luxuries and enormous supplies of temple offering for the gods, as well as foodstuffs for the family feasting. Thousands of sheep, goats, ducks, chicken and water buffalo are prepared for the great slaughter. All types of organisations are closed for ten to fifteen days. Labourers are almost impossible to find; from the poor to the rich, all enjoy the festive mood. Anywhere you go the aroma of 'Vijaya Dashami' is found.

The first nine days of Dashain are called nawa ratri when tantric rites are conducted.

The first day of Dashain is called Ghatasthapana, which literally means pot establishing. On this day the kalash, (holy water vessel) symbolising goddess Durga often with her image embossed on the side is placed in the prayer room. The kalash is filled with holy water and covered with cowdung on to which seeds are sown for a grass known as "jamara."

As days passes by regular rituals are observed till the seventh day. The seventh day is called 'Fulpati'. On this day the jamara to be used by the royal household is brought from their ancestral royal house in Gorkha about a hundred and sixty nine kilometres away over the hills north west of the valley of Kathmandu. A parade is held in the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace.

The eighth day is called the 'Maha Asthami'. The fervour of worship and sacrifice to Durga and Kali increases. On this day many orthodox Hindus will be fasting. Sacrifices are held in almost every house through out the day. The night of the eighth day is called 'Kal Ratri', the dark night. Hundreds of goats, sheep and buffaloes are sacrificed at the mother goddess temples. In the darkness of the night Durga temples, army barracks, and old palaces all over Nepal hold sacrifices for the mother goddess. While the puja is being carried out great feasts are held in the homes of common people where large amount of meat are consumed.

The ninth day is called 'Nawami'. The Taleju temple at Hanuman Dhoka is opened for the public only once a year on this day. Temples of mother goddess are filled with people from dawn till dusk. Military bands play war tunes, guns boom and officers with beautifully decorated medals in full uniform stand there. On this very day the god Vishwas Karma, the God of creativity is also worshiped. All factories, vehicles, any machinery instruments and anything from which we make a living are worshiped.

The tenth day is the 'Dashami'. On this day we take tika and jamara from our elders and receive their blessing. We visit our elders in their home and get tika from them while our younger ones come to our home to receive blessing from us. The importance of Dasain also lies in the fact that on this day family members from far off and distant relatives come for a visit as well as to receive tika from the head of the family. This function continues for four days. After four days of rushing around and meeting your relatives Dashain ends on the full moon day, the fifteenth day. In the last day people stay at home and rest.

Source: http://www.nepalhomepage.com/society/festivals/dashain.html

It is also celebrated in neighboring India as Dussera, but the Nepalese celebrations are more in accordance with tantric rituals. This makes Dashain quite distinct from Dussera.

First day of Dashain: the sowing of the seeds for "jamara"

Ghatasthapana-1st Day
by Prashant Pikle, on Flickr


This is what jamara looks like:

Source: http://kalpanasapkota.blogspot.com/


The 7th day of the festival: Fulpati - the procession of carrying the jamara from the old palace from Gorkha (the home of the unifier of Nepal) to the Hanuman Dhoka Palace (the palace used by the unifier King Prithvi Narayan Shah to rule over a unified Nepal).

fulpati by thisismysansar1, on Flickr


Day 9: Maha Nawami- the celebrations continue across Nepal while the temple of Taleju is opened to the public (the only time in a year).

Taleju temple by wufgaeng, on Flickr

People waiting to enter the temple:

Source: www.nepalitimes.com

Day 10: Dashami - the biggest day of the celebration. Elders put tika (blessings in the form of red powder, rice, and curd) on the forehead of family members younger than them. It is a time for getting together with family and feasting!

Sajal Celebrating Dashain
by itsPrachu, on Flickr



dashain 033
by namrata29, on Flickr



Dashain
by Raj Gaire, on Flickr


The tike (red offering with rice) and jamara (the grass like stuff):

dashain
by jk10976, on Flickr


This is how most people have their tika and jamara ready for family members to come to get offerings.

Dashain 2008 AD/ 2065BS
by jk10976, on Flickr


Not to forget, throughout the festival of Dashain, swings like these are set up almost in every village, town and city. They sure are fun!

Dashain Aayo !!
by Barsha Paudel, on Flickr


During Dashain, most families buy a whole goat and eat it all (and also share with family, friends, and neighbors). Meat is an important part of this festival, especially goat.

Dashain Feast
by Julyinireland, on Flickr


Kite flying is also a common activity, that is a sign of Dashain's approach. Children start flying kites weeks before Dashain. Gambling is also allowed during this time in family households, as people have fun playing cards with near and dear ones who they do not get to meet other days of the year.

Overall, it is the biggest festival in Nepal, which commemorates victory of good over evil.

www.xnepali.net
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Tihar/Deepawali

Tihar, the festival of lights is one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals (it is called Diwali in India, but Nepalese refer to it as Tihar and is celebrated not exactly the same way as in India). In this festival Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth is worshipped. During the festival all the houses in the city and villages are decorated with lit oil lamps. This festival is celebrated in five days. This festival is meant for life and prosperity.

The first day of Tihar is known as 'Kag tihar', crows day. On this day crows are offered food on a plate made out of leaves in the morning before anyone in the house takes in food. Crows are seen as the messengers of death and thus, honoured on the first day of tihar.

The second day is called 'Kukur tihar', dogs day. As the Hindu mythology says that there is a dog at Yama's (the king of the underworld..sort of like Hades minus the negative connotation) gate guarding the gate to the underworld. So on this day a big red tika is put on a dog's forehead and a beautiful garland around the neck. After worshipping the dog, it is given a meal. This day the saying 'every dog has his day' comes true; for even a stray dog is looked upon with respect. We pray to the dog to guard our house as he guards the gate of the underworld and to divert destruction away from our homes.

The third day is the most important day of the festival. It is called 'Laxmi puja', The day when we worship goddess of wealth. On this day, early in the morning the cow is worshipped. Tika is put on her head and a garland around her neck then she feasts with delicious food. A cow also symbolises wealth and she is the most holy animal for Hindus. Cow is the national animal of Nepal.

In the evening goddess Laxmi is worshipped. Days before the house are cleansed and decorated. For goddess likes clean and tidy places. In the evening a small potion of the house out side the main door is painted red with red mud and an oil lamp is lit on it. A pathway is made from here to the place where the old money box and valuables are kept in the house that is the puja room. Laxmi, goddess of wealth is worshipped performing the traditional rituals and when the rituals are over then gambling in the house starts. This is a festival when gambling is not illegal. On this day throughout the evening groups of girls come to houses singing song of praise of the goddess and they are taken as guests and given gifts. This day the entire place is lively through out the night.

The fourth day is bit different. Today the things you worship depend on your specific cultural background. Normally most of the people perform 'Guru puja', ox worshipping. The ox is worshipped with tika, garland and then a delicious meal is fed to it. On the other hand people who follow lord Krishna perform 'Gobhardan puja'. These people build a small hill made out of cowdung and put some grass on it then do puja on it. This puja symbolises the act of lord Krishna when he lifted the gobhardan hill and saved millions of people and cows from floodwater.

If you belong to the Newar community, you perform 'Mha puja' which literally means worshipping yourself. The Newar community people are worshipping life by doing puja on themselves. On this very day the Newar New Year also starts. Nepal has many minor community calendars and Newar calendar is one of them but the nation follows the Bikram Sambat calendar.

The last day of tihar is 'Bhai tika', putting tika on your brothers by your sisters. The royal astrologer gives the appropriate time to put the tika through the national radio a day before and the entire nation abides by it. The main theme behind bhai tika is the sisters praying for their brother's long life from Yama Raj, god of the underworld.
www.nepalhomepage.com


A dog being worshipped on the second day of Tihar (kukur puja)

Tihar 2009 009 by siyan_shrestha, on Flickr



DSC05289
by shékum, on Flickr


diyo - an oil lamp. Used throughout Nepal to lighten up the house on the third day of Tihar, Laxmi Puja

Tihar's Diyos by Sanje²v, on Flickr

Even temples are lighted up using diyos

Tihar Festival
by D J Clark, on Flickr


People make rangolis to welcome Goddess Laxmi into their homes

Tihar Festival
by D J Clark, on Flickr


The whole country is adorned in bright lights. Street in Kathmandu

Tihar in Kathmandu
by Leoniedas, on Flickr


People (especially children) go from house to house, singing and dancing asking for money and goodies. Sort of like Christmas caroling on the 3 rd an 4th days of Tihar. It's called deusi-bhailo.

Deusi Bhailo Program
by Manoj Dhimal, on Flickr

Cow on the occassion of the fourth day of Tihar

www.enjoyfestivals.com


On the 5th day is Bhai tika. See above for explanation.

bhai tika by thefirekhabar, on Flickr

Different colors are applied by brothers on their sisters' forehead and vice versa. There's also exchange of food, sweets, and gifts. :)

www.nepal-pictures.com


This is what's required for the whole puja.

www.holeinthedonut.com
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Yomari Punhi

Yomari Punhi, meaning the full moon of yomari, is one of the most popular Newar festivals and is observed every year during the full moon of December. A yomari is a confection of rice flour (from the new harvest) dough shaped like fig and filled with brown cane sugar and sesame seeds, which is then steamed. This delicacy is the chief item on the menu during the post-harvest celebration of Yomari Punhi.
On this full moon day, people of the Kathmandu Valley offer worship to Annapurna, the goddess of grains, for the rice harvest. Groups of kids go around neighborhood to beg yomari cakes from housewives in the evening. Sacred masked dances are performed in the villages of Hari Siddhi and Thecho at the southern end of the Valley to mark the festival. In a yomari people keep Chakhu a chocolate like food or khuwa a vanilla like liquid.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yomari_punhi

Yomari:

Source: celebratefestivalsinnepal.blogspot.com



Source:http://asianwavemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/13659293_41n.jpg










Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/nepal-community-celebrates-yomari-puni



Source:http://www.demotix.com/news/1698345/newars-celebrate-yomari-punhi-kathmandu#media-1698313
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Lumbini- Birthplace of Gautam Buddha

Lumbini, located in southern Nepal, is the place of birth of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became the Buddha.

Map:

Source: http://www.vanwitzenburg.nl

When U Thant visited Nepal in April 1967 as Secretary-General of the United Nations, he proposed the development of Lumbini into a major centre of pilgrimage. This was followed by a UNDP consultant mission in December 1969, which led to a report that established the basis for further planning around Lumbini.

In 1970, the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini (ICDL) was set up comprising initially of 13 members and later expanded to 16 member states. The initial member states were Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Later, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Republic of Korea also joined. At the national level, the Lumbini Development Committee was formed. ICDL initiated the preparation of the Master Plan for Lumbini, which was conceptualized by Kenzo Tange starting from 1972. The Kenzo Tange Master Plan was finalized and approved in 1978.

The Kenzo Tange Master Plan covers an area of 5x5 miles with the central square mile being the Sacred Garden within which is the UNESCO World Heritage Property. Of the Master Plan, the 1x3 mile area which includes the following three zones: New Lumbini Village, Cultural/Monastic Zone and the Sacred Garden - are part of the Lumbini Project Area. The Lumbini Project Area was expropriated and brought under government ownership in the 1970s.
Source: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/kathmandu/culture/lumbini-past-present-future/kenzo-tange-master-plan-for-lumbini/

Thus, Lumbini has become a place where different countries have built Buddhist religious sites of worship in their architectural styles.

The plan:

http://lumbini.planetwebnepal.com

Mayadevi Temple: It is dedicated to Buddha's mother, Mayadevi. It signifies the exact place of Buddha's birth.
Lumbini by tupperware, on Flickr

#182: Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini by DrDevious14, on Flickr


The insides of the temple:
Lumbini by marc_p_1970, on Flickr

Exact birthplace of the Buddha:
Lumbini by bodhithaj, on Flickr


Old palace ruins surrounding the Mayadevi Temple
Lumbini by marc_p_1970, on Flickr

ルンビニ Lumbini by akiyoshiterashima, on Flickr

The Ashoka Pillar next to Mayadevi Temple. The Pillar was built by King Ashoka of the Mauryan Dynasty of India. It helped validate Lumbini's location.
Lumbini, Nepal by niketa579, on Flickr


The Flame of eternal peace
Lumbini by Mathew Knott, on Flickr

Ancient Kapilavastu, Monastery area, Lumbini Nepal by JoaoleitaoTRAVEL, on Flickr


An old Peepal tree, similar to the Bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment
Lumbini by wonker, on Flickr


Below are the pictures of the temples built by several countries in Lumbini as part of the master plan.

Myanmar:
The Myanmar Temple (Lokamani Cula Pagoda) is a gleaming gold and white structure gracefully soaring into the sky in the style of the She-dagon Pagoda in Yangon.
Lokamani Cula Pagoda - Lumbini by T Ξ Ξ J Ξ, on Flickr


Lumbini, Nepal by Skycladphotography.ca, on Flickr


Germany:
Interestingly enough, Germany has built a temple at Lumbini despite not having a significant Buddhist population. :)
A German Monastery at Lumbini by xsrave, on Flickr

The German temple lumbini by himlalpun, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Kaal Bhairab

The Kaal Bhairab temple in Kathmandu consists of a 12 ft statue of the angry manifestation of Shiva (called Bhairab). According to folklore, those who were accused of any crime were brought in front of the deity and if the person was found lying, they'd bleed to death. Nevertheless, Kaal Bhairab has an imposing presence in Kathmandu Durbar Square and has been a part of the medieval kingdom since the 17th century.

Kaal Bhairab @ Basantapur Durbar Square by pramodparajuli, on Flickr


Kaal Bhairab by ShankarU, on Flickr


Kaal Bhairab; the Temple of Taleju in the backdrop.
_MG_3019 by rahuleverest8848, on Flickr


Evening prayers at Kaal Bhairab by yadavop, on Flickr


Kaal Bhairab - Swet Bhairab by jk10976, on Flickr


Don't let the scary look fool you. Kaal Bhairab is said to be cleanser of all souls and a remover of obstacles. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Mahashivaratri - Great Night of Lord Shiva

Mahashivaratri is an auspicious and important festival of Hindus, especially for the devotees of Lord Shiva who celebrate the religious festival with great enthusiasm. Devotees on Mahashivratri throng to temples and holy shrines to offer prayers and please Lord Shiva.

According to Hindu mythology, Mahashivratri is Lord Shiva's favourite day. Devotees on this day remain on fast or perform hour long spiritual meditation by following rituals to commemorate Mahashivratri and be blessed with grace. In the early morning, they visit temples to offer cold water, milk and bael leaves on the Lingam, a symbol for the worship of Lord Shiva, after properly cleaning it. Many sadhus on Maha Shivratri visit shrines and offer marijuana to worshipers to spread the significance of the festival. Wearing a garland made from rudraksha and applying turmeric vermilion or holy ash on forehead symbolizes a holy ritual on this religious festival. Holy mantras are also recited and special puja ceremonies are held throughout the night to celebrate Shivratri.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/mahashivratri/eventcoverage/11821856.cms

In Nepal, the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu witnesses a throng of people coming for the festival. Over 700,000 devotees from all over Nepal and India come to the temple as it is an important Shiva temple. Marijuana usage is legalized in Nepal for the holy men who take the trip to the temple. It is a national holiday in Nepal.

Hindu holy men
Shivaratri Festival, Nepal by chaneunice, on Flickr


Holy man smoking marijuana
Chilum time by PawelBienkowski, on Flickr


People thronging to the Pashupatinath Temple during Shivaratri
Nepal - Mahasivaratri at Pasupati by dhilung, on Flickr


Pashupati on Shivaratri by yadavop, on Flickr


JL-26.02.06-12 by rangichangichha, on Flickr


The temple lit up for the festival
Pashupati panorama ( Shivaratri Eve :) ) by ashishkoirala, on Flickr


Festive lights at Pashupatinath by yadavop, on Flickr


Devotees waiting in line to get into the temple
pilgrims by Mark Panszky, on Flickr


The Pashupati night during the eve of the Mahashivaratri festival.
the night before by Mark Panszky, on Flickr


Holy men adorned in the orange color usually associated with Hinduism
Sadhus2 at Maha Shivaratri_3-6-08 by kea660, on Flickr
 

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Tibet Holidays - www.tibetholidays.com

We Tibet Holidays team are local Tibetan people. Our company name is derived from the network of nuclear and extended family that we have across Tibet and Himalayan region of Nepal and India. intimate contacts to provide you with the highest level of hospitality, support and safety. Because we know both the back trails and the highways.

for details go to tibetholidays.com
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Namo Buddha

The pilgrimage site of Namo Buddha is about forty kilometers from the Boudhanath Stupa. Located on slightly elevated land, it is a pleasant and out-of-the way place. The landscape below resembles an eight-petaled lotus, and the sky above has the form of a wheel with nine spokes. In this wide panorama, some mountains glisten white like a conch shell or a crystal. On other mountains, the groves of trees seem to gleam with emerald and turquoise jewels.

From the Buddhist point of view, Namo Buddha is one of the most important religious sites in Nepal. There are three major Buddhist pilgrimage sites: Boudha Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa and Namo Buddha.

Source: http://namobuddha.org/namobuddha.html


http://www.adventurethirdpole.com/packages/view/Day-hike-form-Namo-Buddha-to-Panauti.html


http://www.trekkingmart.com/destination/nepal/short-trekking-in-nepal/itinerary/dhulikhel-namobuddha-trekking

20101106_243alt by keith mellnick, on Flickr

Namobuddha by furdis, on Flickr

04102013-PA040135 by bruno645, on Flickr

Namobuddha by Marlene-B, on Flickr
 

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Hi friends of Nepal, I send a message of love and peace for your country, this year 2018 is the beginning for more new projects in your country, many greetings from a friend who loves the whole world...! :)
 

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UNESCO Heritage Sites in Kathmandu

In such a culturally rich nation like Nepal, you do not always have to go to a far-flung and remote land to witness its heritage. In fact, Kathmandu Valley is the perfect place to get introduced to Nepali culture. The valley has remained the centre of social, cultural and economic power since bygone days. You can take Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour of UNESCO sites. There are 8 Cultural sites and 2 Natural sites enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal and 7 of them lie inside Kathmandu Valley alone.
www.highlandexpeditions.com
 

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Helicopter tour in Nepal

The Helicopter tour packages in Nepal gives you an opportunity to discover around the geographical territories of Nepal. From aerial sightseeing to heli trek, we offer you remarkable travel experience. From airborne sightseeing to Heli trek, offering you an unforgettable travel experience of nature and Nepal’s dotted travel terminuses from the luxury of a helicopter.
 

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Everest Base Camp Trek Blog | Detailed EBC Itinerary and Best Time to trek

Everest Base Camp trek takes you to the lap of this highest peak in the world. You can plan how long you wish to spend on this trekking trail in the Everest region. We have prepared a blog about trek EBC that can give you detailed information about the Itinerary and weather in various parts of the trek.
trekebc.com
 
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