Adventure Travel during Festivals in Nepal Add New Insights
Nepal has a number of festivals both Hindu and Buddhist that you are sure to enjoy during your adventure travel to the lovely Himalayan country. Adventure travel to any place does not mean just sightseeing or participating in adventure sports but also learning about the ethnic culture and way of life. Nepal has numerous tribes who lead very different lives from what one can observe anywhere else. A very popular festival and quite unique to Nepal is the “Gai Jatra”, or the procession of cows, celebrated in the Nepalese month of Bhadra that falls some time around August and September. The festival like most in the country is associated with mythology and the current form is a happy blend of modernity and medievalism.
One of the cultural traditions in Nepal is that whenever there is a death in the family the other members must participate in the next Gai Jatra in the month of Bhadra that follows. The custom demands one joins the procession in the streets of Kathmandu, leading a cow. If a cow is unavailable then a young boy dressed as a cow is considered a fair substitute. Hindus venerate the cow and it is regarded as a holy animal. The custom is supposed to ensure the onward journey of the dead to heaven.
Nowadays it is an occasion for satire as well. Some people dress as ascetics or jesters and enact short satirical pieces that are commentaries on the local political and social environment .They are hugely popular with the public who gather to watch the procession. After the procession is over, in the afternoon, nearly everyone takes part in another age-old tradition in which the participants dress up and wear masks. Much fun and frolic follows and it takes on the ambience of a street fair or block party. Gai Jatra lasts for a week and heralds many other festivals that follow.
The Buddhist monasteries also open their gates to the visitors to view their bronze sculptures and collection of paintings during the week. At Patan, one observes the festival of Mataya at this time. There are several public performances of dance and drama in the different localities of the town.