Festival of Purity & Security

I was lucky enough to witness the Janai Purnima Festival in Patan, Nepal on Aug. 18 (2073). All over the world, Hindus celebrate this festival, observing the bond of purity and security.

At Kumbeshwar Temple, one of Kathmandu Valley's three five-story temples, and oldest in Patan, is dedicated to Shiva as indicated by the large bull facing the temple. Its two ponds hold water that are said to come straight from the holy lake of Gosainkund, along trek north of the valley.

During the festival, many ritually jump into the waters to cleanse their souls of sin.

On a full moon, members of the Brahmin and Chhetri castes tie sacred threads called Janai around the chest of upper caste Hindu males devoting them to follow their religion and the path of truth.

The Janai, symbolic of body, speech and mind, must be worn every day of their lives.  

Chanting a prayer/raksha bandhan mantra, a priest tied a doro (sacred yellow, orange and red thread around our wrists for good luck. The thread should only be taken off when it is then tied onto the tail of a cow on Cow Worship Day (Laxmi puja) in October. I'll have to find someone with a cow in New York — a cow that won't kick me in the face for tying it around its tail.

It was a lot of fun to be able to walk around and take pictures, then get dinner. Thanks for being patient and not losing the photographer, guys. 

Ashmita (below) thought she might want to get blessed, but the line stretch out too far and it would've taken well into the night. It was hard to move on the street, it was so packed. I witnessed such a beautiful display of family togetherness, friendship and unwavering faith.

We also got some Kulfi, traditional Indian ice cream. That was pretty delicious. Yeah, I didn't take a picture. Just imagine it. :) Here's an image of this beautiful bell instead though. Enjoy. :)

Thanks for looking through some pictures I took in Patan during one of the many festivals that go on through August. Believe it or not, there are many, many more happening in the fall. And I'll miss out. :( Oh well, I'll get in as many as I can now. In the next post, there will be pictures from the Cow Festival in Bhaktapur ("Places of devotees"), which is consider the old city of Kathmandu. Gorgeous place. To be continued...

- B