By CK Khanal
Kathmandu, Oct. 15: Locals of Handigaon celebrated their popular ‘Satya Narayan Jatra’ with fanfare on Monday despite the presence of less number of youths to pull the chariot.
Due to the increasing trend of youths to migrate abroad for study and employment, the traditional Newar residence is facing the problem of shortage of youths in recent years during chariot procession of the traditional Jatra.
The chariot procession of God Satya Narayan needs a minimum of 27 physically strong persons at once and one cannot continue carrying it for a long time, but most of youth capable of pulling the chariot are outside the country, said Dhan Raj Shrestha a member of local Trishakti Club of Gahanapokharil, Handigaoun.
“Most of my friends and also the juniors are in different countries of Europe, Asia and America which has created a shortage of strong persons to pull the heavy chariot of god Satya Narayan,” Shrestha said.
“We are facing difficulties to manage persons with strong shoulders for the smooth procession of the chariot along the set route of the chariot procession,” Shrestha said. The Satya Narayan Jatra of Handigaon is populary known as Kahinavayeko Jatra Handigaounma (Jatra not found elsewhere) for its uniqueness as compared to other Jatras celebrated in the Kathmandu Valley.
The popular proverb in Nepali language– Kahinavayeko Jatra Handigaounma was said to be initiated from this Jatra. This Jatra is used to be celebrated every year on the day after the Kojagrat Purnima (the last day of Bada Dashain).
This Jatra is different from others due to the facts that the god used to be kept at the top of the inverted pinnacle of the chariot and people offers prayers at the foot of the inverted chariot, said Gopal Shrestha.
He said that another unique feature of the Jatra was that the god used be prayed by offering unnatural flower- wax flower, as per the commitment made by the initiator of the Jatra to make the god happy.
According to a local senior citizen Babu Lal Prajapati, there is a popular myth among the residents of Handigaon regarding the starting of the Jatra. According to the myth, the Jatra was initiated to resolve the problem of 12 years long pregnancy of a woman who neglected the role of Narayan (god) in the delivery process.
In the ancient time, there were two sisters who were pregnant at the same time. In their chatting, one sister expressed worries about the difficulties during the delivery process if the god Narayan did not open the path. But another sister said that the delivery of a baby was just a natural process and she could easily make it without any difficulties and blessing of the god.
However, the sister who has taken delivery as a simple task and neglected the role of god could not deliver her baby from her womb for 12 years. To resolve this problem the family went to the priest, who suggested bringing god Satya Narayan there from Himalaya by making him happy.
Accordingly, the family brought god Satya Narayan by offering him this strange type of Jatra and ultimately the pregnant woman gave delivery to his baby two years after her pregnancy, he said. Prajapati said that the key attraction of participants of the Jatra used to be the wax-flower (main phul). Everybody wants to get wax-flower offered to Satya Narayan with the belief that touching of the flower would ease the delivery process of women and other house-tamed animals.
In the past, the Jatra used to be conducted during the night time, however, since last few years it is being organised in the day time as per the demand of locals.
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