Apr 10, 2015-
According to a story about the origin of the Boudhanath Stupa, ages ago, it was built to end a long spell of drought. Because the drought would not end, the people of the surrounding areas started hanging pieces of cloth on their roofs all night to collect dew drops. In the morning, they would squeeze the drops into a vessel and use the water collected to build the stupa. The stupa took 12 years to complete. And true to a prophecy revealed to the then ruler, when the construction ended, the rains arrived. The Temal Jatra, celebrated by the Tamang community at the Boudhanath Stupa every year, marks the time of the rain’s arrival.
The Jatra, which took place last week, is one of the main festivals of the Tamang community. The term “Temal” is sometimes considered a synonym of the word “Tamang”. Thousands of Tamangs come together during the festival, which is celebrated a day before the full moon in the Nepali month of Chaitra. During the festival, Tamangs from all over Nepal come to the stupa to offer butter lamps (nangsal) and say their prayers. Some even observe fasts and pray at nearby monasteries. They rotate the prayer wheels while singing the Phapare Geet. For many youngsters, the festival night, which is marked by singing and dancing, is also a chance to find love.
The Jatra also provides an opportunity for family members and relatives from all over the country to gather and pay homage to their loved ones who have passed away.
They do this by lighting butter lamps and offering rice grains to the gods. The belief is that these offerings will help the departed attain nivana or moksha.
But for the locals of Boudha, the festival is also a time to make some extra income, which they do by setting up stalls selling incense sticks, wicks, oil and ghee for lamps, as well as food.
Published: 11-04-2015 08:52