Nepal - Festival & Events

Basant Panchani: This spring festival honours Saraswati, the goddess of learning. Hundreds of artists, weavers and students converge on Swayambhunath temple for lively celebrations. Nepal's schools are also colourfully decorated at this time.

Losar: The Tibetan New Year is one of Nepal's most beautiful celebrations. The local Tibetan population and the sherpas feast and enjoy lama dances in their villages. The temple of Boudhanath is a major centre for this event.

Shivaratri: The birthday of Shiva is a big deal in Nepal among its Hindu population. This is one of the country's major festivals as thousands of pilgrims flock to Pashupatinath for an all-night vigil. Exotic sadhus gather from all over, garbed in loin clothes and carrying tridents in this amazing spectacle.Holi: the week-long spring carnival is always a rowdy event in Nepal. Children roam the streets throwing water balloons and powder on each other (and tourists), so wear your grubbiest clothes and get stuck into the fun.

Baisakh: The beginning of the Nepalese New Year is a great time for a visit. This day marks the start of the week-long Bisket Jatra celebration in Bhaktapur. A tug-of-war contest determines which direction the great chariot of Bhairav will travel through the streets which are thronged with people. 

Ghodejatra: Also known as the Festival of Horses, this is one of Kathmandu's most exciting events. Horse races and other sports take place at Tundikhel, while other parts of the capital parade images of various deities around on chariots.

Baisakh Poornima: The triple events of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death are celebrated by Nepal's Buddhist community. Temples such as Swayambhunath and towns such as Lumbini see processions and interesting rituals carried out.

Bhoto Jatra: Patan's biggest festival is well worth a trip to this interesting town. The sacred jewelled waistcoat is displayed to the royal family in a timeless ritual, after which an image of the protector deity of the valley is paraded through the town to ensure adequate rainfall.

Dumji: the sherpa settlements around Nepal celebrate this important day. The Khumbu and Helambu regions are great places to watch traditional dances performed by the sherpas to bring good luck.

Gaijatra: also known as the Cow Festival, this carnival lasts for eight days and is full of singing, dancing and anything that causes laughter. Locals dress up as cows and parade through the streets of towns and villages.

Krishnastami: the birthday is Lord Krishna is a big event in Nepal. An impressive ceremony takes place at Patan's Krishna Temple, and another equally grand scene happens at Changu Narayan.

AugustIndrajatra: the most spectacular festival in the Kathmandu Valley is this eight-day extravaganza. Hanuman Dhoka is the best place to witness the dancing and processions, which culminate with the Kumari living goddess being paraded through the capital.

Teej: Nepal's most colourful women's festival takes place over three days as women pay homage to their husbands. After fasting and a ritual bath, the women sing and dance. Pashupatinath is the best town to witness this fascinating ancient event.

Dasain: this 10-day festival is the most important event in the Hindu calendar. Life throughout the country comes to a stop as families gather to worship the mother goddess Durga. Patan is a great town to witness priests swirling through the streets for eight nights prior to the start of Dasain.

Tihar: the Festival of Lights, as it's known around the world, is a five-day gathering of families across Nepal. Everyone, including dogs and cows, are blessed with gifts, and lights are placed in every window and door in the country. The night scene during Tihar is truly amazing.For further information on Nepal Tihar Festival visit this website.

Vivaha Panchami: the town of Janakpur in Dhanusa province is the site of this famous festival commemorating the marriage of Sita to Ram. Thousands of pilgrims from India come to this part of the eastern Terai to participate in this important Hindu event.
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