The Wayfarer Diaries: Shiv Ratri Celebrations in Nepal

1940 hours, 13-02-2018, Galyang, Syangja District, Ghandki Zone, Nepal:

Today is Shiv Ratri and a national holiday as the festival is celebrated throughout Nepal. We got up in the morning at around 0800 hours. As it had rained after a long time last night, all the dust had settled down. Watching the different coloured birds of numerous species all around us, with constant chirping sounds coming from the forest since morning, is just the music that makes the day start off on a good note. My friend then showed us a swallow’s nest which was built by the birds inside one of rooms of the house. The nest was built along the ceiling with mud and grass in such a fashion that only a small opening had been left open from where the birds went inside the nest. The door is kept open during the day time, whereas the window also has opening, from where the birds can come inside the room and go out with ease anytime. It is a strong structure and has been there since my friends childhood.

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Swallow nest built of mud and grass inside the house; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

After getting to see the bird nest, we headed towards Waling, which is a big town and has a SBI branch and an ATM. We caught the bus from the bus stop and within 20-25 minutes, had reached our destination. Coming from India, I was a little concerned about how we would withdraw money here until our friend assured us that all SBI cards work in Nepal. This is because of the relationship India and Nepal have, and which was nice to know about. After withdrawing money from the ATM, we headed to the Shiva temple at Pathe Khola near Waling. On getting down at the bus stop a little while ago, we had heard the sound of the bhajans being played on the loudspeakers in the temple. The temple was near the Aandhi Khola river, just a few hundred meters from the bus stop with the trail along fields of mustard, millets and vegetables. We then went inside the temple premises where people of all age groups had come to offer prayer and get blessings on the auspicious day. Many could be seen sitting down on the grass.

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Commuting by local bus to Waling, Nepal; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

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Andhi Khola river with farms of mustard and millets visible from the road as we approach Waling; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

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Shiva temple at Pathe Khola, Waling, Nepal; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

After spending some time at the temple we headed back to Galyang, the municipality in which Mudkilla is the main village. We are now at the Shiva temple in Galyang and can see the festivities underway as a large crowd has gathered at the temple. Live music is being played with devotional songs being sung as children and ladies dance to the tunes. I had been thinking about how celebrating Shiv Ratri outside of Shimla this year would be and I’m glad that it couldn’t have been any better.

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Devotional songs being sung on the rhythm of the local instruments ; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

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Children dancing during the Shiv Ratri festivities at Galyang, Nepal; Photo: Abhinav Kaushal

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