What you need to know about Nepal’s Biggest Festival (Dashain)


Dashain is the grandest, longest and most auspicious festival in Nepal. Dashain is a time for family reunions, exchange of gifts and blessings, and elaborate pujas. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon. It’s celebrated in the month of Ashwin or Kartik (nepalese Calendar) which usually falls around late september- early October. Goddess Durga is worshiped during this festival. and we believe that god durga is symbolizing valor and prowess also emphasized the importance of family reunion, which is helpful to ease social contradictions.Take blessings from their elders and enjoy being with family forgetting all the trouble and worries.

The weather during Dashain season is the best, after the monsoon finally ends its not too hot nor too cold. You can feel laid back festive atmosphere throughout the country making it an ideal time to visit nepal but during the festive period all government offices, educational institutions and public buildings will be closed, so the tourist will need to plan ahead carefully.

Day 1. Ghatasthapana:

Ghatasthapana happens on the first day of the Dashain festival. Ghata means “pot or vessel” and sthapana means “to establish”. Combining both words the literal meaning is to establish a pot. On this day, the kalash, (holy water vessel) symbolizing goddess Durga often with her image embossed on the side is placed in the prayer room. People fill a vessel with sand and sesame seed, sow maize, barley seeds and is covered and worshiped for 10 days. Then the seeds begin to sprout. Several days later, five or six inches long yellow grass would thrive in the kalasha which is called Jamara. Traditionally, outsiders and women are not allowed to enter the kalasha placed room. Men will worship the kalasha twice a day, one time in the morning and another at night. They take shower and wear clean white dhoti while going inside the prayer room. Generally people read Chandi or Durga Kavach during these 9 days of Devi worships. The ghatasthapana ritual is performed at a certain auspicious moment determined by the astrologers.

Day 7. Fulpati:

Fulpati is also known as Saptami. On this day, the Fulpati filled with holy water, banana stalks, jamara and sugarcane tied with a red piece of cloth to be offered to Goddess Durga, was brought from Gorkha to Dhading district from where six Bhramans carried it to Dashain Ghar in Hanumandhoka,Kathmandu. There are also parades performed by the Gurujyuko Platoon, Nepalese army in hanuman dhoka and Tundikhel ,which is observed by the Prime Minister.

All nine plants represent goddess and all goddess represents Health, Wealth and prosperity.  Entering Phulpati home is entering health, wealth and prosperity home. There is a tradition in Nepal of bringing nine types of Phoolpati into the pooja room of the house with a celebration in the seventh day of Navaratri Pooja. Therefore, the seventh day of Vijaya Dashami is also called Phoolpati in Nepal.

Nine ingredients of fulpati (navapatriva)

  1. Banana plant (kera ko bot): represents Goddess Brahmani (ब्राम्हणी), who bestows peace.
  2. Pomegranate (darim):represents Goddess Rakta Dantika (रक्त दंतिका ) who helps and blesses the worshipper.
  3. In rice stalk (dhanko bala): represents goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
  4. Turmeric plant (haledo): represents goddess Durga, who puts end to obstacles.
  5. Manabriksha: represents goddess Chamunda, who puts end to the evil.
  6. Ginger plant (अदुवा): represents Goddess Kalika, who blesses mankind.
  7. In Wood Apple Tree (bel plant): represents lord Shiva,This is the favorite fruit of Lords Vishnu and Shiva.
  8. In the Ashok plant: represents goddess Sokarahita.
  9. Jayanti:represents goddes Kartiki.

In the same day, Saraswoti, the goddess of education and knowledge is worshiped. Students and teachers do puja of their books and other study materials. Businessmen people honor and their scales and ledgers. The formal public holiday of Dashain also starts from this very day.

Day 8: Maha Asthami:

The eighth day of Dashain Festival is held for goddess Kali. 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. After being dedicated to the Goddess, those meat would be brought home and called as “Prasad”. And it’s said that eating Prasad will bring good luck.

Day 9: Nawami:

The ninth day of Dashain festival, The Taleju temple will be open to the public for once a year on this occasion. You’ll see numerous people line up to visit Taleju Temple and beg for Goddess’ blessings. On this very day the god Vishwa Karma, the God of creativity is also worshiped.  Nepalese slaughter their livestock to sacrifice to all machines, vehicles, household items, like cars, hammer are also worshiped on this day, to get the blessing from goddess Durga for protection for vehicles and their occupants against accidents during the year.

Day 10: Bijaya Dashami:

On this day wearing new clothes,women prepare a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermilion powder called “Tika”. And all relatives gather together and elders put tika and jamara on the forehead of younger and receive their blessing and also give “dakshina” money. This ritual helps in the renewal of the community ties greatly that’s why the festival is celebrated with so much vigor and enthusiasm.These red (tika) and yellow-green (jamara) splashes of color are an integral part of the festival. This continues for five days till the full moon giving enough time for family to visit every relatives and exchange gift greetings and well wishes. New clothes, home visits, grand feasts, mouth-watering foods, kite flying and build bamboo swings are the highlights of Dashain. People living far away from home or homeland, revisit their home and get together with their families.

Day 15: Kojagrata Purnima

The full moon day is also called ‘Kojagrata’ meaning ‘who is awake’. The Hindu goddess of wealth and luck Laxmi is worshipped. People enjoy the night by playing cards and much more.


Gosaikunda Janai festival Trek-Holy Lake


Nepal is not only popular in its natural beauty; it is also very popular for its unique culture, tradition, and festivals. Gosaikunda Lake situated at an altitude of about 4381 m. in north east of Kathmandu surrounded by Himalayas. Gosaikunda Janai Festival Trek is one of those travelers who have an interest in festivals of Nepal. Gosaikunda area represents as a religious site, This Lake is religious symbol of a Shiva and Gauri. The water of Gosaikunda is considered holy and has its own importance during the Gangadashahara and the Janai Purnima festivals. Gosainkunda is known as Hindu pilgrimage, Buddhists community people also take part equally as important for their own values & tradition of acquiring strength for meditation, cosmopolitan feelings & enlightenment. Its holy waters are considered of particular significance during Gangadashahara and the sacred thread festival Janai Purnima when thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India visit the area.

In the occasion of Full Moon Festival, Shamans (“Dhami Jhankris”) come from all over Nepal arrive to the lake dressed in belted white robes and crowned with porcupine quills and peacock feathers, perform ritual dances to throbbing drumbeats night and day and camping and cooking on their own.According to religious belief channel carries water from the lake directly to the tank at the Kumbheshwar Temple in Patan (Kathmandu Valley), 60 km south west. Hindu people chant Gayatri Mantra and change their Sacred thread (Janai) for the protection and Rakshya Bandhan-a sacred red-yellow thread tie around the wrist by the priest. We can see an image of Shiva at its center is filled with water in this lake.

During this trek, anyone can experience the lifestyles of diverse ethnic groups along the trail. If the day is clear, you will have some spectacular views of the valley below and of the magnificent waterfalls cascading down the mountain ranges across the valley.


Tattoo Culture in Nepal


Nepal is now a known as one of the best destinations for getting inked.  Tattooing is as old as paintings and it is painful and gruesome, if done the traditional way. This is one piece of art that one takes to one’s grave. Tattoo culture in Nepal is one of the oldest traditions practiced in Newars, Tharu ,Gurungs and Magars communities of the country.

In Newars Culture, Tattoos are most commonly used by women and lower-caste Newaris. Tattoo in legs is also referred to as ‘Lha Chyogu’ in newari language. ‘Lha’ means flesh and ‘chyogu’ means writing.  The tattoos on the feet of Newari women from the Bhaktapur-Thimi area symbolize strength and are supposed to be attractive to the men folk. Tattoos making in children at an early age are also believed to protect them from illness and evil spirits.  Newar individuals normally get Symbols and images of various divine beings and goddesses and particular examples identified with nature. The traditional way of making tattoo colors are- Mixture of coal and milk from selected plants. Newaris have a traditional belief that tattoos on one’s body drive away misfortunes. Another belief is that, when a man dies he takes nothing from this world with him except the tattoos on his body.  On the way to heaven if this man comes up against hardships he can sell the tattoos and thus make his way to heaven more comfortable.

In Tharu community the tattoo is known as ‘godhani’ but usually old women, are called Tikaniya. Getting a tattoo is quite common in both men and women in tharu community. Ladies embellish their hands, limbs, legs and chest with symbolic designs of nature mythological stories and historical events. Other markings were simply meant to look aesthetically pleasing, like jewelry. In this community a newborn child is tattooed either on his leg, hand or chest with designs mostly of birds. These tattoos are done following Hindu rituals. They belief that getting tattoos designed on their bodies will find a place in heaven. Getting inked before marriage is also a part of their beautifying process. Tattooing was compulsory for married Tharu women and they used to get tattooed on their legs prior to marrying Mustard oil and cow dung are the traditional ointments used as ink and thorn from Neem trees to imprint a tattoo in Tharu culture.

Gurung and Magar people group have a typical pattern of beautifying their countenances and close lips with plans of sun, moon and the stars. It was believed that getting inked brought good fortune for them and their families. Tattooing is traditionally done with the help of a ‘nilkadha’ (the thorn from the nil tree). The nilkhada is dipped in goat’s milk and designs are made mostly on the hands, cheeks chin, legs and the forehead.

Tattoo culture in Nepal has found a new niche among youths today. It has grown increasingly. Now, Nepali tattoo artists are even internationally renowned for their artistic work and creativity.


Kumari- A living embodiment of the Hindu goddess Taleju


Kumari is derived from the Sanskrit word Kaumarya, which means princess. Generally, A Kumari is a prepubescent girl selected by a council from the Newari community people for one day and worshipped accordingly on certain festivals like Navaratri or Durga Puja. From the 17th century where two of the world’s oldest religions Hinduism and Buddhism where interlink and they become a part of this “worshiping a girl as a goddess” tradition. Kumari is worshipped by Nepali Hindus and Buddhists, who believe she’s the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga. The Kumari is considered the embodiment of the Hindu goddess Taleju. Kumari are chosen as toddlers and, once they are named as the goddess, she is carried because her feet are not allowed to touch the ground.

The Kumari has to be chosen very carefully, the Kumari has got resemblance to the Tibetan style (Tibetan lamas) of selecting the reincarnations of their predecessors. She is chosen from girls aged three to five in the Buddhist Shakya clan. Her skin must be blemish-free, her hair and eyes, very black. Her body has to be sturdy as a Banyan tree, thighs like those of a deer, neck like a conch-shell and tongue, small and moist. The voice will be crystal clear, hands and feet dainty and sexual organs small and well-recessed. Strangely, for a child, she should also have a set of 40 teeth. The girls are then tested for 32 physical attributes which has minute details and she is also put through a secret test to check the signs of fearlessness The goddess must not get frightened and therefore the selected girls are placed in an odiferous room with freshly severed 108 decapitated buffalos laid out in a sea of blood or dancing men wearing demon masks.who walks clockwise through this scene of carnage. If she cries out, faints or shows any sign of hysteria, she is immediately disqualified and the next candidate is brought forward for consideration.

Kumari can only speak to their families and she will live in a temple palace (Kumari Ghar), away from her family, until she is 13. When Kumari gets her first period she is dismissed and a new one replaces her. Kumari is only allowed to leave the palace 13 times a year during festivals. A living goddess can wear only red color, because we believe that this creative energy.Late August or early September in Nepal celebrate most vibrant and the biggest festival called “Indra Jatra”. Where the Kumari, is paraded across the city, in her golden palanquin. It is quite a sight to behold, as hundreds of masked men and devotees dance to traditional Newari music and pull on the chariots of the Lord Indra and Kumari.

Kumari Ghar built in 1757 by King Jaya Prakash Malla, which is right beside Kathmandu’s Durbar Square. It is enclosed by magnificently carved wooden balconies and windows and two white lion guardian statues stand outside the entrance to Kumari Ghar. It is a wonderful old building with traditional and intricately decorated inner courtyard. Collusive Newari architecture. it is a religious place, where the Living Goddess performs her daily rituals. Her (Kumari) needs and those of her caretakers are paid in full by the Nepalese government and she spends most of her time studying and performing religious rituals. Generally Buddhist and Hindus (Only Nepalese citizens) are allowed to meet the Kumari but other are not allowed to photograph her inside the Kumari Ghar.


People of Nepal and their culture


Nepalese citizens are also known as Gurkha or Gorkhali. Nepal’s population is about 25 millions. Nepal is a diverse and multi-ethnic country where, 69 different cultural, more than 90 languages and ethnicity. Mostly each ethnic group has their own unique costumes, speak their own languages or dialects, and follow their own religious practices. The majority of the peoples are the Indo-Aryans from the south and the remainder is of Mongoloid origin from the north. The Bramhins, Newars, Rais, Limbus, Kshytriyas, Tamangs, Thakuris, Tharus, Dhimals, Yadavs, Sherpas, Gurungs, Magars, Thakalis are some of the major sects of Nepalese Society. Visiting Nepali villages is like visiting an open air history museum.

The official language of Nepal is “Nepali”. Nepali language is a mother tongue (first language) in Nepal which is spoken and understood by majority of the population. But various ethnic groups have their own mother tongues like: Maithili, Tharu, Newari, Bhojpuri, Gurrung, Tamang, Rai, Limbu, Magar, Bhote. English is also spoken and understood by people in most urban centers.

“Namaste”-(as a tradition salute) the common form of greeting each other in Nepal, which means in “I salute the divine in you” Which is widely used in the most part of country. Nepal is also known as a land of Festivals and rituals. More than 50 festivals celebrated in Nepal throughout the year. Vijaya Dashami, Deepawali, Buddha Purnima, Lhosar festivals have national significance. There are some festivals which have historical significance and others are seasonal celebrations. Nepalese people believe that, festivals have brought unity in the evident diversity In Nepal, Culture finds beautiful expressions in a number of fields such as religion, art and music, socio-religious festivals, temples, pagodas, intricate wood carvings, bronze and stone sculptors of great beauty represent the heritage of world fame.The largest portion is Hindu accounting for about 80 % of the population, approximately 11 percent people are Buddhhists, 10 % Muslim, 4 % Kirat; and the rest are the other religion followers like Christians. However Nepal has number of religious group they always live in peace and harmony. There is not any record of religious conflict in Nepal yet. Nepal holds so many culture and each of the culture gives us the true motive of existing.

Nepal is a third world country with a majority of the population striving for a better life. Nepalese people are involved in their traditional occupation agriculture. 76% percent of total population are belongs to traditional agriculture system as their main source of economy and rest of the other percent are depend on cottage industries, general manufactures, goods trading, government officials, hospitality tourism and others.

Nepal have many different backgrounds and ethnicities, and this multitude of influences is reflected within the country’s cuisine. Nepalese food is not only rich in its taste but reflects the wide variety of culture and traditions. Nepalese people’s food habit can be marked as a rice culture social adoption. Nepalese main course of meal known as Dal-Bhat-Tarkari and it is habitual way of twice a day but Newari,Thakali ,Dhido, Sel Roti,Sukuti, Yak Cheese, Mo:Mo, Ju-Ju dhau (King of Curd) etc. are also famous dish in Nepal.