By Binod Prasad Adhikari
Lalitpur [Nepal], October 1 (ANI): At a time when other parts of Nepal are celebrating the fortnight-long Dashain festival, a medieval Newari heritage village in the Southern part of Kathmandu Valley, Khokana, is marking Sikali Jatra, which is somewhat different.
Observed for a period of five days, the Sikali Jatra is dedicated to goddess "Shikali" who also is known as "Ajima" or Mother Goddess.
"This Jatra is somewhat associated with Dashain as the demon is killed in the Jatra which also is related with the Dashain. We start the functions from the day of Ghatasthapana (first day of Dashain) and on the third day three he-buffalo (each from three Guthis) are sacrificed resembling them as demon. It commonly is said that Dashain formally starts from Khokana but the only difference is we don't keep Jamara but this jatra is observed celebrating the death of demon like that of Dashain," Tada
Naike of the Jatra organizing committee told ANI.
It is believed that Gods and Goddesses in human form fly and tour around the Sikali temple which is located at a grassy hill just outside the village.
It starts with Goddess Rudrayani or Sikali being carried in a wooden chariot throughout village and rested in front of temple in Khokana along with various religious copper vessels.
The Jatra witnesses "Tantric" rituals along with masked dances in colourful attire during the festival representing 14 gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon.
Priests clad in white robes along with 14 masked people as deities come together to perform dance. It is believed that goddess protects their town from misfortunes and prevents calamities also. It is regarded as an occasion for the farmers to rejoice in post-harvest season.
The Jatra ends on the day of Fulpati which centres on patron deity of the town of Khokana- goddess Rudrayani commonly known as Maheshvari.
Dance performed on the last day of 5 days celebration is believed to be linked with origin of the city of Khokana. (ANI)