What is Tihar Festival of Nepal and how it is celebrated?

Tihar is a Hindu festival celebrated by Nepalese people. It is also celebrated by Hindu people all over the world. The last day of Tihar festival is known as Diwali. The other names of Tihar are Tyohar, Dipawooli, Dipabali, Deepavali and other similar sounding word. It is also known as the festival of lights, and crackers. It is the biggest festival of Nepal after Dashain. The festival is celebrated from the first day of Kaag Tihar (Crow Tihar) which falls on the Tryodashi of Kartik Krishna paksha to the fifth day of Bhai Tika which falls on Kartik Suklapakshya . Hindus from all over the world celebrate is Dipaavali (Diwali) by lighting houses and enjoy crackers.

Tihar Festival, Diwali Celebrations in NepalHow was Tihar festival celebrated in Ancient Nepal?

The five days of this festival has its own story according to the Hindu myths. According to the Hindu, textbook found in Nepal, Yamaraj (son of Surya) accepted his sister Yamuna‘s invitation to join a party and he enjoyed there five days. So the five days are collectively named as Yamapanchak (Panchak means five/fifth). During his stay in Yamuna’s home, impressed by the welcome and behaviour of his sister, he asked her to make a wish. Yamuna requested every year at this time, he has to visit her as well as she wished for a strong bonding of love between brothers-sisters. She also wished for long life and prosperity of brothers to be glorified for ages. Yamaraj granted her wish to be fulfilled. So in this way, Yamraj performed Bhatripuja (sibling rituals) with full devotion by ‘the heart’, ‘the promise’, ‘the act’ and ‘the pure thoughts’ (Nepali/Sanskriti words mentioned :- मनसा, वाचा, कर्मणा र शुद्धचित्त). So, it is believed this ritual performed during Tihar festival strengthens the bonding among siblings and increase the prosperity of their brothers through ages. In this way, since ancient Nepal, this festival is being celebrated. Tihar represents the love between brother and sisters and also affections between animals and humans.

Social Importance

Tihar has its own cultural aspect besides that of religious. Nepal and India both are agricultural counties. A man becomes very happy when time comes to reap his crops (food) like wealth which he has sown gold like seeds. In this occasion of being happy, he worships to thank God. The avatars of the goddess Durga are remembered and worshipped in the Dashain festival as well as the Tihar festival which comes 15 days after Vijaya Dashami. Laxmi is regarded as the goddess of wealth. So, it is worshipped for good weather in South-Asian countries like Nepal, India, Bhutan and Burma.

The Puja Room During Tihar Festival in Nepal.

The Puja Room During Tihar Festival in Nepal.

 

How is Tihar Festival celebrated in Nepal?

The festival is calculated scientifically according to Panchanga so the date always varies. If you calculate or convert Nepali miti to English/Gregorian date (BS to AD Converter), mostly the festival falls on either October or November.

Crow Tihar/ Kaag Puja – 1st day

A crow was feed during Kaag Tihar in Nepal.

A crow was feed during Kaag Tihar in Nepal.

Kaag puja is performed on the Kartik tryodashi, the first day. Crow is considered as a clever bird that knows how to eat, how to survive in every situation. There are many reasons behind worshipping Kaag. It represents the equality of viewing to everyone and it had helped farmers decreasing the bugs or worms especially grasshoppers destroying crops. Also, it is also regarded as the messenger sent by Yamraj. It is considered as a faithful devotee of him. There are other similar words used by Nepalese society such as Kakabeshana (काकगवेषणा), Kakabali(काकबलि), etc.

Dog Tihar/Kukur Puja- 2nd day

A Cute Dog on Kukur Tihar Festival Nepal

A Cute Dog on Kukur Tihar Festival Nepal / Copyright © Puja Rai (raine1090)

There both the religious and social importance of this day. This day is regarded as Narak Chaturdashi. The dog is also known as the messenger of Yamraj. The dog is also regarded as a faithful devotee of him. The dog is not only considered as loyal or protector but also helps in finding out criminals and used in various study and investigations too.It protects your house especially from thieves and helps humans in many troubles. It has helped in pre-detection of natural disasters. It is also considered as Bhairavs means of transportation (बाहन). So especially today dogs are worshipped, feed delicious foods and thanked them for being a man’s best friend.

Cow Tihar/Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja – 3rd day

A cow being fed by a woman in Nepal during the Gai Puja day of Tihar Festival.

A cow being fed by a woman in Nepal during the Gai Puja day of Tihar Festival.

In the Hindu way of lifestyle, Cow plays a significant role. Almost in every religious and social work like early morning home sanitation (घर-आँगन लिपपोत), spreading cow urine (गहुँत सबैतिर छर्केर). It’s not directly using cow dung or urine directly. It has certain procedures on how to use. Cow urine is being used as pesticides since ancient Nepal and India. The cow is taken as animal-wealth too. So, Hindus consider it as the form of goddess Laxmi and also mother cow in the sense we all become child consuming her milk.

Kathmandu During Tihar, festival of Lights - Diwali

Kathmandu During Tihar, festival of Lights – Diwali / Copyright © Pratik Tiwari

Laxmi is known as the goddess of wealth and goodwill. Kartik Krishna Aaushi is considered as the darkest night. So, every home is lightened with diyas to welcome Laxmi home. The theme of this act is to eliminate any kind of darkness that resided inside your heart by using your inner human sense. The cow is worshipped as a resemblance of goddess Laxmi. On this day the people of Ayodhya performed Dipaawali and rejoice the moments after Lord Rama destroyed the demons by piercing with the arrow like words for the world welfare he sat on the throne of Ayodhya. It is believed that any man dying today goes directly to the heaven as per the Yamuna’s wish granted by Yamaraj. Yamaraj is the lord of death or Kaal. The swastika symbol is considered as goodwill according to the Hindu beliefs. For many of the reasons, the main reason is being happy. “तमसोमा ज्योतिर्गमय” is the piece mantra (शान्ति मंत्र) for Dipawali which means “just like from darkness to lightness one should provide soulful joy to him/herself. So, females usually enjoy playing/singing Deusi Bhailo songs. The message of this day is enjoying your life to the fullest level, never let the sorrow enter inside you. There is no any exact English translation of the night of Laxmi Puja but literally, it is a Happy Night (सुखरात्रि ) out of the four important nights of the year. The females especially the unmarried girls plays Deusi Bhailo by going homes to homes.

Goddess Saraswati (right), goddess Laxmi (middle) and Ganesha (left). Laxmi is Hindu goddess of wealth,

An image showing Goddess Saraswati (right), goddess Laxmi (middle) and Ganesha (left). Laxmi is Hindu goddess of wealth,

Some interesting facts of this day

  1. One this day the Nepali calendar was born (not the Bikram Sambat).
  2. Bahadur Jafar Shah, the last king of Mughal dynasty used to celebrate Dipawalli and used to attend Hindu-Muslim programs conducted. The border of Nepal is in Aliabad according to this.
  3. In the time of Shah Aalam III, his royal palace used to be decorated with lights during Tihar festival and both Hindu and Muslims used to attend the programme conducted at Lal Killa.
  4. During the era of Mughal emperor Akbar (कबर), the founder of Din-E-Elahi, Aakashdeep (आकाशदीप) used to be lit on the 40 feet high bamboo in front of royal treasury store(exchequer) on this day,
  5. Also, the King Jahangir used to celebrate Tihar festival.

Deusi and Bhaili start from the 3rd day.

The citizens of Ayodhya lit the diyo using ghee during the arrival of their dearest King Rama. That darkest night of Kartik was buried over the light lit by the people in their homes and people rallying saying Shri Ram (which means our Ram is God). To this day this word took the form Deusir Ram (देउसिरी राम), Deusire (देउसिरे) and Deusi (देउसी). Today also preserving the culture Nepalese love to play Deusi. The team is known as Deuse (देउसे), one says/sings (भट्याउने) and rest follows Deusire after him/her. Listen to more Nepali Deusi Bhailo Songs.

There is another story of Baliraja too.

Ox/Oxen Tihar / Goru/ Gobardhan Puja – 4th day

An ox was feed and praised during Goru Puja of Tihar Festival in Nepal.

An ox was feed and praised during Goru Puja of Tihar Festival in Nepal.

Goru Tihar also known as Hal Tihar or Gobadhan Puja is the fourth day of this festival. Gobardhan is the name of the mountain near the Gokul according to the Hindu mythical story. It is believed that Krishna used to stay in Gokul with his Gopals. Gopals used to worship god Indra but didn’t get anything. So, Krishna told them instead of worshipping god Indra, they should worship Govardhan mountain which gives them minerals, grass, firewood, timber, etc. So, from that day Govardhan puja is performed. Indra became angry and create hailstorm and heavy downpour on Gokul. Krishna uplifts the mountain by his hands and provides shelter under that big mountain to all the Gokuls. At last, Indra regrets and ask for forgiveness with Krishna. It is believed Gobardhan Puja is being performed from that day till now.

Brother Tihar / Bhai Tihar / Bhai Tika – 5th day

Seven Colors of Bhai Tika, the Dhaka Topi and flower garlands (sayapatri mala)

Seven Colors of Bhai Tika, the Dhaka Topi and flower garlands (sayapatri mala)

The last day of Tihar festival means the Kartik Suklapakshya Tritiya is celebrated with great importance. This day is praising, loving each other by sisters and brothers wishing for a long life ahead. The ritual is performed and worshipping is done accordingly. Today, sister feeds her brother delicious food, and brother promises to protect her and take care of her thought his life. The story of Yamaraj and Yamuna happens on this day. It is said that during the 5 days of Yamapanchak, Indranidas Dikyaa abandons his kingdom for King Bali.

This tika are applied in brother’s forehead in the upward lining.r

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Bardia, the National Park

Bardia is the biggest National Park that lies in Terai region of Nepal. It has an area of 38 square kilometres and perfect park for Tiger watching. Some of the parts of NP lies in between Karnali, the country’s longest river and Babai river. Hence, it has become a good natural habitat for animals.

A rhino in Bardia National Park

A rhino in Bardia National Park

The 70 percent of the NP is covered by Sal tree (Shorea robusta) and it’s sub-species. The remaining 30 percentage of NP is a grassy pastureland. The NP has 54 species of Mammals, 400 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles and more than 60 species of fish.

Not only the National Park, Bardia is famous for it’s Tharu communities and their cultures. The homestay of Bhadgown and the Thakurdwara Temple near the NP are famous tourist destinations for both local and foreign visitors. The Thakurdwara temples have statues of Malla Dynasty and it’s one of the famous religious sites of Mid-Western development region. Usually, mela is organised during the Maghe Sankranti festival.

Karnali Chisapani Bridge

Karnali Chisapani Bridge

How to reach Bardia?

You can reach to Bardia by two hours bus journey from Nepalgunj. The Bardia NP is 16 kilometres far from the Ambasa, a place located on East-West Highway.

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Pathivara, the Temple and Taplejung District

Pathivara Temple in the Taplejung district is one of the famous temples for religious tourists coming from India as well as from the West. Thousands of thousands pilgrimage flocks to this temple each year. Pathivara Temple is situated at an altitude of 3798 meters above the sea level. Mount Kumbhakarna looks beautiful when you see from here.

 

Mt. Kumbhakarna or aka Kumbhakarna Himal as seen from Pathivara Temple.

Mt. Kumbhakarna or aka Kumbhakarna Himal as seen from Pathivara Temple.

Ashoj – Kartik is said to be the best season to visit this area. The locals say, most of the snowfall happens at this time and the weather will also be good.

 

How to reach Pathivara, Taplejung District?

You can go to Pathivara Temple directly but we have some good ways to make your Nepal travel more awesome. If you are travelling from Kathmandu or Pokhara, then don’t forget to visit Ilam first and head towards Pathivara. In this way, you will collect the amazing memory of the Ilam Team garden also. A flight from Kathmandu to Suketara and then walking 6 hours by foot you can reach here. You can also travel 2 days by bus and reach to Phedi (Fedi). It takes 5 hours of walk before you reach Pathivara Temple. There are several routes to get there. You can catch any public transportation or book a private vehicle.

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Mustang, the upper one

Upper Mustang is one of the destinations of both national and international visitors. After the operation of public transportation from Jomsong to Mustang, there has been an increase in a number of national tourists too. Especially this season is considered as the best season to visit Upper Mustang.

It takes one day on a public transportation or you can enjoy trekking for three days to reach there. The lifestyle of the Mustang is quite different as compared to rest of the districts. So this became one of the main reason to attract tourists and it’s rising day by day.

Upper Mustang and the houses.

Upper Mustang and the houses.

Today the King of Mustang has its own pride even the country itself is a republic one.  The local and other people respect him very much. The famous spots of this place are Naturally Gufa (nine-storeyed cave), traditional culture, lifestyle, the luring view of nature and the Korala Naka (Nepal-China Border)

How to reach Mustang?

You can book a private vehicle from Kathmandu or Pokhara that takes you direct to Mustang with no any stops. Also, a flight from Kathmandu or Pokhara to Jomsong and a jeep ride up to Jomsong can also be done. There is no any motorable bridge on one of the river you will encounter. But don’t worry, just cross the river on foot and then the next vehicle on the another side of the river will take you to Mustang. It takes 6 hours to reach there.

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Annapurna Trekking Routes

Annapurna is world famous by the name “Annapurna Trekking” itself. It is one of the top ten world famous trekking destination. So most of the international tourist usually know about it. If you ever try to look for every trekker’s resolution, then you will definitely find the Annapurna Trekking on top of their list. Lamjung is called the gateway of Annapurna Trekking. The route comprises the places like Besisahar,  Bhulbhule, Syange, Jagat and Tilicho lake of Manang district, Bagarchhap, Chame, Thorpang and Manang.

Nilgiri Himal, Annapurna South as seen from the village Pothana

Nilgiri Himal, Annapurna South as seen from the village Pothana

This trekking route is easier one as compared to others as you can find out Tea-Houses in every place. So you can enjoy some local Chiya-Kafee (Chiya-Coffee),  rest for a while enjoying the community itself. Hotel & Lodges (Accommodations) with good facilities are available on this route so you need not be worried about anything.

How to reach Annapurna region?

There are several routes to reach Annapurna Region. This region has so many places from where you can start your journey. Direct micro buses are in operation from Kathmandu to Besisahar/ Lamjung. Or if you are staying in Pokhara then also you can catch a direct public bus or reserve any private vehicle.

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Rara, the Lake and Mugu

Rara is the biggest lake of Nepal which lies in Mugu district of Far-western development region. Almost every Nepalese wants to visit Rara Lake once in their lifetime.  It lies at the height of 2990 meters above the sea level. It is surrounded by the beautiful and evergreen forest and it’s amazing the people by changing its colour with respect to the rays of light it receives. The snow trout fish, (the rare fish only found in Rara lake) inhibits here with other three endemic fish species (Schizothorax macrophthalmus, S. nepalensis and S. raraensis) and one endemic frog, Rara Lake frog (Nanorana rarica).

Rara Lake - Boating - The Nepal UK

Tourists boating in the Rara Lake of Mugu district. Rara lake is the biggest lake of Nepal.

To get the full photo photometric view of Rara Lake, Murma Top, is one of the best location. The top lies at the height of 4500 meters above the sea level.  But, the expected number of international tourists haven’t visited yet in comparison to the local tourist because of its remoteness. However, the good news is more no of travel agencies, hotel business and even the government itself has initiated the tourism campaign. So, this year we saw slightly rise in the international visitors too. If you want to experience the wilderness beauty of nature then Rara Lake is the perfect destination. It used to one of the favourite places of late King Mahendra who once wrote a poem describing the beauty of Rara lake sitting under the Juniper tree.

Rara Lake, beautiful gem of Karnali,, a piece of heaven fallen on Earth.

Rara Lake, beautiful gem of Karnali, a piece of heaven fallen to Earth.

How to reach Rara Lake and Mugu?

Talcha Airport at Mugu can be reached by 50 minutes flight from Nepalgunj and trekking (walking) three hours you reach to the Rara Lake. Or, Rara lake trekking can be started from Surkhet district.  You can reach to Gamgadhi (Mugu) by two days bus journey. And after walking three hours by foot, you can reach Rara lake. Direct public buses or flights are in operation from Kathmandu, Pokhara and other major cities.

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Mount Everest Trekking And The Sagarmatha National Park

mount-everest-trekking-sagarmatha-thenepal-ukMount Everest Trekking or also known as Sagarmatha National Park Trekking is one of the most travellers choice destination, especially for international tourists. This region experiences thousands of foreign tourists – some of them to submit the almighty Mt. Everest and some to trek up to the Mount Everest Base Camp. More numbers of international visitors flock this area in comparison to the local tourists. But if you see the latest demographic figures (statics) there has been a rapid increase in local tourists as well, says Aang Tashi Sherpa, a local tourism businessman.

You love the majestic Mt. Everest or probably heard the story of Everest but you don’t know how to summit. Don’t worry, there is a place named Kalapatthar from where the mighty Mt. Everest can be literally seen in front of your eyes. Kalapathhar, 5555 meters above the sea level is only the place in the whole world to view the Everest as nearer as possible for non-climbers. You can view the 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayas range from here. But, you might be confused which the Himalayas you are viewing. So, ask you guide if you have or get a printed pictures with details explained.

Everest Trekking Nepal

Everest Trekking Nepal

How to reach the Everest Region?
A flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (Lukla Airport, has been featured as the world’s dangerous airport by National Geography) and a walk to the Sagarmatha region.

The Nepali name of Mt. Everest is Sagarmatha which means the Head of the Sky. If we disintegrate the word itself; “Sagar” means “the Sky” and “Matha” means “Forehead or head)”.

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Poon Hill Trekking and Pokhara

Nepal is a perfect destination for any traveller from any country. The country can be itself called a traveller’s paradise, home to Gods and Goddess, home of the almighty Himalayas including Mount Everest, the birth place of Buddha and living example of Spiritual culture. We have made the list of some most popular and most beautiful tourist destinations of Nepal for anyone seeking to take advantage of their holidays.

Poon Hill and Pokhara (पुनहिल र पोखरा)

Who won’t be amazed to see the seventh highest mountain right in front of their eyes? That is why most of the tourist goes to Myagdi to see the Mt. Dhaulagiri (Dhaulagiri Himal). You can reach Pun Hill after walking half and hour uphill from Ghorepani. This location is an ideal place to see Dhaulagiri Mountain Range.

Poon Hill and Pokhara

View from the Poon Hill

 

Poon Hill Trecking has been one of the top 10 trekking spot in Nepal and a mostly preferred by the foreign trecker’s lovers. There are two options for a tracker –  one, the Poon Hill Trecking only and next, the mountain trekking to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) via the Poon Hill route. The second option is recommended to experience the wonderful experience once in a lifetime.

It’s a wise choice to schedule at least five days to go to Poon Hill from Pokhara and get back into the town. From Pokhara, Tikhe Dhunga can be reached on the first day itself and on the second day you can reach Ghorepani.  One the third day, you can enjoy the sunrise going to Poon Hill Tower, return back to Ghorepani and accommodated and Dada Pani. After then, Ghandruk can be reached on the fourth day and finally back to Pokhara city on the fifth day. If you have chosen the second option, ie. the trekking from Pokhara to ABC via the Poon Hill route and returning back to Pokhara takes 11 days and is highly recommended for the international tourists themselves.

Sunrise in Annapurna Region

Sunrise

 

In a way, Pokhara is the tourist capital of Nepal. At the same location, the lakes, the mountains, the houses, the caves can be observed in Pokhara. In addition, Adventurous games like Paragliding, Bungee Jumping, Zip Flyer, as well as dozens of activity can be done at the same time in this region. Pokhara has been preferred (by both local and international tourists) as the gateway to most of the trekking routes in Nepal. Pokhara is the gateway of Annapurna, Upper Mustang, Poon Hill and other trekking.  So that makes it this region the tourist capital of Nepal.

How to reach Pokhara and Poon Hill?

You can choose 4 to 5 hours journey by a Public Transportation to save your budget or 30-35 minutes direct flight from Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) to Pokhara Airport. The are special Bus services available target especially for the international tourists also. From Pokhara, your real trekking (by foot) starts towards your chosen destination.

 

Note: There are direct bus services that will take you Myagdi or if you wanna explore the Himalayan towns and villages have a break at Nayapool (Kaski), Gorkha (learn about Gurkhas and see the Gorkha Durbar, Lamjung, Kusma (the highest suspension bridge of Nepal, Parbat), Baglung, Beni and don’t forget the Upper Mustang, Dolpa, Kagbeni and The Muktinath.

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