Panauti Jatra

Local people celebrating Panauti Jatra at Panauti

Panauti is one of Nepal’s oldest cities, established by AnandaDev Malla. It is a traditional Newari town with magnificent temples as an example of medieval art and architecture. It is the temple of Indeswor Mahadev. During Jestha Sukla Purnima each year Jya Punhi (Panauti Jatra) is observed. Panauti citizens commemorate and pay homage to their protected deities for almost ten days: Indeshwori  Mahadev, Bhadrakali, Unmatta Bhairav and Brahmayani. The idols are separated from their temples, mounted in a palanquin or ceremonial chariots and carried or pulled according to a specified route in the different quarters of the region.

In other words, on the fourth day of the festival, the fourteenth day of the bright fortnight in the evening a Duin-ca-nya-ya-ke-gu festival is held. A group of a priest, a woman and a porter cross the bridge across Punyamati River to go along with Goddess Bhadraali to make Tantric offerings to Goddess Brahmayani. The festival is called ‘duin’ in memory of the women team member. The fifth day if the festival is called Mu-jatra meaning the day of greatest importance. On this day, most Panauti city residents make the sacrifice of male goats or ducks to Goddess Brahmayani and Bhadrakali and worship gods and goddesses located within the city.

The sixth day is the day of the full moon known as Jya Punhi. The palanquin and chariots bearing different figures of the god are carried around the region. The festival is conducted in Layaku dabali, where Unmatta Bhairav and Bhadrakali’s chariots clash, and later Indreshwor Mahadev’s palanquin collides with Bhadrakali’s chariot symbolizing the sacred sexual relationship. On the ninth day of the month, on the first day of the holiday, all the deities taken out of their shrines are carried back to their respective temple.