On Nepal tours, among the greatest festivals to be a part of, is Pahan Charhe. The festival, also called Pasa Charhe, is celebrated with a lot of revelry, especially in Kathmandu, the national capital. Its occurrence is fixed according to the lunar calendar; hence, its date in the Gregorian calendar is variable. During the celebrations, a lot of rituals and activities take place and treating loved ones with lavish dinners is the most significant of all. The 14th day of the first fortnight of the fifth month of the Nepali calendar is when the fanfare begins.
The first day begins by offering prayers to Luku Mahadyah, an aspect of Lord Shiva. His idol is generally sunk in the ground in dirty corners. Offerings of meat, wine and the flowers of rapeseed and radish, the latter two symbolising silver and gold, respectively are made to it. In the evening and through the night, a mask dance known as Nyatamaru Ajima Pyakhan is performed on city-streets, where the masks represent various deities. Day 2 is when the most important and most-attended ceremonies take place. Portable shrines of seven mother goddesses, namely Lumadhi, Kanga, Mhaypi, Takati, Mayti, Yatamaru and Bachhala are paraded near their respective shrines. While this happens, numerous horse races are organised by the Nepali Army in the parade ground in Tundikhel. In the evening, all these shrines are hauled by devotees on their shoulders, who bring them to the Tundikhel ground, accompanied by musical bands. Their arrival is symbolised by processions of revellers, who hold fire-torches in their hands.
The last day involves similar processions and parades, with the band members wearing caps, with their colours, representing their locality within the city. As these portable shrines or palanquins pass through the streets, people from their houses above them, throw rice crepes, called chatamari. This bringing together of the palanquins, symbolises the meeting of the goddesses, who according to popular lore, are sisters. If travellers attend this festival with their holiday tour packages to Nepal, they will get to hear seasonal Newari songs with a melancholic feel. Those, who want to witness the celebrations of this colourful festival, can visit Nepal in the month of March.
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