Marked by rituals, dramatic dancers and ancient tales, Gathu Pyakha returns to Patan with much fanfare
The ancient cities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur are Nepal’s most significant cultural hubs, dotted with historical temples, monuments, museums, and traditional stories to tell. Along with many other religious festivals, the Nava Durga festival is celebrated in Bhaktapur and locales of Thecho almost simultaneously.
Gods Bhairav, Ganesh, Simha, Dumha and Goddesses Barahi and Ajima are represented in the age-old traditions of Thecho. The Gathu Pyakha is the dance form performed by 13 Devgan’s (dancers), originating from Thecho and roving towards Patan.
Starting on Asthami (eighth day of Dashain), this dance is a revival of mythologies, craftsmanship and culture. Bringing the festivities to a close yesterday on Purnima the Director of Thecho Nava Durga Guthi, Bhakta Lal Mali has always been determined to continue this tradition.
The festival is celebrated by grand, ornate, holy masked dancers who represent the different Gods and Goddesses in human form. The Bhaktapur festivities begin on the ninth day of Dashain where the masks are placed in public spaces for people to worship and give offerings of food and puja. Here, in Patan the masks are highly honoured, crowds gather around different squares to get a glimpse of the dramatic annual Gathu Pyakha.
The Nava Durga dance that ended yesterday was celebrated with much fanfare and marks yet another rich, cultural celebration of Nepal.
Photos: Pratik Malakar