Top 10 Festivals in Nepal
If you’re planning a trip to Nepal, it’s definitely worth your while visiting one of the country’s many fascinating festivals. To help you factor this into your Nepal travel itinerary, here’s a top 10 list of some of the county’s best festivals:
1)Magh Sankranti, Devghat:
If you’re planning a Nepal trip in January, then why not check out Magh Sankranti in Devghat. Dated by the movement north of the winter sun, this Nepal festival is one of the few that is not timed by the lunar calendar. This particular festival in Nepal celebrates ritual bathing which marks the end of the coldest winter months during the Nepali month of Magh.
Another great Nepal festival is one which celebrates the Tibetan New Year which commences with the first new moon in February. So if you’ve planned a Nepal holiday during this time of year, it would be well worth a visit. Losar is widely celebrated in all Tibetan areas, especially at the great stupa of Bodhnarth, near Patan.
3)Maha Shivaratri, Pashupatinath:
The birthday of the Shiva falls on the new moon day of the Nepali month of Falgun. Festivities take place at all Shiva temples, but the biggest celebrations take place at Pashupatinath where hundreds of sadhus flock there from all over Nepal and India. Even the King of Nepal makes an appearance late in the day. During a visit to this remarkable festival, you can watch the crowds bath in the Bagmati holy waters and create wonderfully colourful sights- this is sure to be a real highlight of your Nepal trip.
4)Balkumari Jatra, Thimi:
The small town of Thimi welcomes the New Year with a festival instituted by the King Jagat Jyoti Malla in the early 1600s. With devotees gathering around the Balkumari temple in Thimi as dusk falls and hundreds of oil lamps are lit, this is sure to be a memorable moment of your Nepal holiday. Some devotees lie motionless around the temple all night with burning oil lamps balanced on their arms, legs, chests and foreheads. The next morning, as Ganesh arrives from the village of Nagadesh, watch the festival hit fever pitch upon her arrival, whilst red powder is hurled wildly around covering everyone in sight.
5)Bisket Jatra chariot festival, Bhaktapur:
If you’re travelling to Nepal this time of year, Bisket Jatra is one of the most exciting annual events held in the valley and a must-see part of your Nepal travel experience. During this fascinating festival, huge triple roofed chariots are built and a big game of tug of war commences between the east and west side of the town. After the battle of the chariots, a huge 25 metre high lingam (phallic symbol) is erected in the stone yoni (female genital symbol) base.
6)Rato Machhendranath festival, Patan:
Centred on honouring the God, Machhendranath who is considered to have great powers over the rain, this festival is an essential plea for good rain as the monsoon season approaches. By including a visit to this spiritual event in your Nepal travels, you can watch the day-by-day chariot procession through the streets of the old town in Kathmandu.
7)Indra Jatra chariot festival, Kathmandu:
Indra, the ancient Aryan god of rain, was once captured in the Kathmandu Valley. When she was released, she promised to spread dew over the crops for the coming months and take those who had died over the last year back with her to heaven. A truly fascinating experience, become immersed in the traditions of this unique festival atmosphere with a visit to Indra Jatra during your Nepal trip, and take part in honouring the recently deceased as the festival goers pay homage to Indra.
Wherever you plan to go during your Nepal holiday, be sure to visit the Dasain festival late in the year. Dasain lasts for 15 days and finishes on the full-moon day of late September or early October. Marking the end of the monsoon season, this festival celebrates the arrival of clear skies and clean air and the rice being ready for harvesting. It is a family time when all the family homes get a good spring clean.
Also known as Diwali the Festival of Light, this is the most important Hindu festival and is celebrated all over the world. The five day activities take place in late October early late November depending on the moon. Experience this unique event as part of your Nepal holiday and watch as the festival goers honour certain animals, including throwing rice at crows and painting their horns gold and silver. As lanterns and lamps are lit in every home and the streets are filled with light, this is sure to be a really memorable part of your Nepal trip.
10)Mani Rimdu, Tengboche:
Why not pay a visit to the Mani Rimdu festival during your Nepal holiday which takes place at the Tengboche monastery in the Solu Khunbu region, on the Everest Base Camp trek. This three day festival in Nepal features masked dances and dramas celebrating the victory of Budhism over the existing Tibetan Bon religion. The dates of the festival are worked out according to the Tibetan lunar calendar.