Khokana's Sikali Temple: Where Tradition Meets Tranquility

18, Oct 2023 |

Whether you're drawn to the masked dances, the breathtaking landscapes, or the historical temples, Khokana promises an unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression

Nestled in the picturesque southern part of the Kathmandu Valley, about 10 kilometers away from the bustling capital city of Kathmandu, lies the charming medieval Newari heritage village of Khokana. This tranquil village is home to the enchanting Sikali Temple, where the annual Sikali Jatra Festival unfolds in all its grandeur. Let's embark on a journey to discover the unique cultural celebrations, historical significance, and breathtaking surroundings of this hidden gem.

Sikali Jatra Festival

Sikali Jatra is a vibrant, 5-day festival celebrated by the local indigenous Newari people of Khokana, usually coinciding with the auspicious occasion of Ghatasthapana. While the rest of Nepal celebrates the grand Dashain Festival, the Newari community in Khokana has been commemorating Sikali Jatra since 336 Nepal Sambat, during the reign of King Amar Malla. This festival carries with it a deep-rooted tradition and a powerful purpose: to ward off any unwanted or unfortunate incidents.

The focal point of Sikali Jatra is the magnificent wooden chariot that carries the idol of Goddess Rudrayani through the winding village streets. The procession eventually culminates at the sacred Sikhali Temple, perched gracefully on a grassy hill just outside the village. The temple, a testament to Newari architecture, is a massive three-story structure where Goddess Rudrayani is worshipped as the protector of the locals and their heritage.

What truly sets Sikali Jatra apart is the awe-inspiring spectacle of a local individual donning the divine persona of Goddess Rudrayani on the final day. This embodiment of the goddess symbolically engages in a battle against imaginary devils, showcasing the rich religious and cultural significance of the festival.

The celebration doesn't stop at the temple. It continues with the sacrifice of three he-buffalos and rhythmic dances, followed by offerings at the local Siddhi Temple in Bhakha, Khokana. Here, the local community comes together to honor their deities, reinforcing the bonds of tradition and spirituality.

A unique aspect of Sikali Jatra is the masked dances, which follow tantric rituals and are performed by dancers adorned in vibrant attire. These dancers represent 14 gods and goddesses from the Hindu pantheon, adding a mesmerizing and spiritual dimension to the festival.

Exploring the Sikali temple surroundings

The Sikhali Temple stands as a serene monument to history, with its origins dating back to 336 Nepal Sambat. What truly distinguishes this temple is its tranquil setting. Nestled outside the main settlements, the temple is surrounded by heavenly natural beauty. The lush, open meadow, the surrounding hills, and the verdant paddy fields paint a picture reminiscent of the Swiss countryside.

As you explore the temple's vicinity, you'll be captivated by the surreal scenery. The sprawling paddy fields near the temple, the gentle flow of the Bagmati River, and the panoramic views of Chandragiri and Champadevi Hills create an atmosphere that feels almost surreal. For those seeking a bit of adventure, a suspension bridge over the Bagmati River invites you to take a leisurely stroll, allowing you to soak in the pristine beauty of the region.

Places near Sikali Khokana

While in Khokana, there are several other attractions waiting to be explored. Nearby, you'll find the quaint Bungamati Village, the revered Red Machindranath Temple, and the historic Karyabinayak Temple, each offering a unique glimpse into the rich heritage and spirituality of the region. These sites provide a well-rounded experience for travelers looking to immerse themselves in the cultural tapestry of the Kathmandu Valley.

Khokana's Sikali Jatra Festival and the surrounding attractions offer a captivating journey into the heart of Nepal's cultural heritage. The festival's vibrant rituals and the temple's serene setting provide a unique blend of tradition, spirituality, and natural beauty that beckons explorers and culture enthusiasts from across the world. Whether you're drawn to the masked dances, the breathtaking landscapes, or the historical temples, Khokana promises an unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression.

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