Guide to the Hemis Monastery Festival, Ladakh, 23-24 June 2018
04 Jun 2018

Guide to the Hemis Monastery Festival, Ladakh, 23-24 June 2018

The Hemis Monastery, 43 kilometres from Leh, is one of the richest and most important monasteries in Ladakh. It is also one of the few monasteries to hold its annual festival in the summer. Therefore, it’s very popular with tourists. If you’re lucky enough to be in Ladakh in June/July,

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Snake ornamentation in a water tank. Photo: 
Peretz Partensky/Flickr
22 Apr 2018

Nag Panchami, When the Snakes Have Their Day

Nag Panchami (August 19) is a Hindu festival that worships Nag, the serpent king. Pictures of Nag are posted in doorways, and milk is the prime offering of the day. If you have a keen eye, you must have noticed that snakes are quite prevalent in many wood, metal, and

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The Rato Matsyendranath chariot. Photo: Elen Turner
18 Apr 2018

Patan’s Furious Sage: The Rato Matsyendranath Festival

There’s a festival held in Patan that goes on and on for one entire month–the Rato Mtsyendranath Festival. This year it will be held from May-June. It’s also a festival that has been the foreteller of some tragic events in the country’s history. The focal point of the festival is

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Dashain swing. Photo: socialtours nepal/Flickr
15 Apr 2018

Dashain, Nepal’s Biggest Festival

Dashain is the most important festival in Nepal. It is a celebration of good prevailing over evil. Families offer goats, ducks, chickens, eggs and coconuts to the goddess Durga. People return to their home villages to spend some or all of the fifteen-day festival with their families. Large swings are

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Photo: R4vi/Flickr
11 Apr 2018

The Janai Purnima Festival, or Rakshya Bandhan

The Hindu, Buddhist and Jain festival of Janai Purnima (also known as Rakhsya Bandhan) takes place on the full moon day of Shrawan. Janai refers to a sacred thread worn by men as they come of age, and purnima means the full moon. During this festival, Buddhists bathe in sacred

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Photo: socialtours nepal/Flickr
08 Apr 2018

The Story of the Gai Jatra Festival

Going by just the name, you might think that Gai Jatra (or the festival of the cows) it’s something like the ‘running of the bulls’ festival in Pamplona. Well, that is really far from the mark. Gai Jatra, held on August 27 this year, is actually an occasion to commemorate

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Mustang's Colourful Tiji Festival
30 Mar 2018

Mustang’s Colourful Tiji Festival

The Tiji Festival is the most auspicious festival in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal. Ancient mythology relates how the Tiji Festival was celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil. It is believed that what is now the Mustang region was in trouble, and was being destroyed by

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Photo: Vrindavan Lila/Flickr
28 Mar 2018

Celebrating Krishna, Most Flamboyant of the Gods

If you are here on September 2nd this year, you must visit Patan Durbar Square, for that is where you will see long lines of both young and old devotees queuing up in front of the Krishna Temple to wish Lord Krishna a very happy birthday. Actually, there are two

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Local Lore of the Ghode Jatra Festival Part 2
19 Mar 2018

Local Lore of the Ghode Jatra Festival Part 2

We told you the first part of the Ghode Jatra festival story the other day, in Part 1. Are you ready for the second half? This terrifying demon was the legendary Gurumapa, whose stories were often told by elders to their children all over the valley. Scared, Kesh Chandra remained

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Local Lore of the Ghode Jatra Festival, Part 1
16 Mar 2018

Local Lore of the Ghode Jatra Festival, Part 1

On March 27 2018, the Tundikhel ground in central Kathmandu will reverberate to the thundering beat of many hooves, as a score and more magnificent steeds race one another. The skilled riders will demonstrate their excellent horsemanship by putting them through their paces and displaying some amazing feats. The occasion

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