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Bisket Jatra Festival Tour 2017

Day To Day Itinerary

DAY 01: (Please note that festival events and days are tentative. Sequence of events may take place slightly differently than mentioned below). Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel (overnight in hotel). A tour briefing will be followed by welcome dinner at a Nepali restaurant.

After your arival, If time permits, there will be a brief sightseeing tour of Kathmandu.

DAY 02: After breakfast, transfer to hotel in Bhaktapur. Sightseeing of this cultural city in the afternoon.

Bhaktapur is one of the UNESCO listed world heritage culturarl city in Kathmandu valley. Traffic free, the traditionally intact town is also in many ways the most timeless. The cobblestone streets link a string of temples, courtyards and monumental squares, and the sidestreets are peppered with shrines, wells and water tanks. The town's cultural life is also vibrant with centuries-old traditions. Look for rice laid out to dry in the sun, people collecting water or washing under the communal taps, dyed yarns hung out to dry, children's games, fascinating shops and women pounding grain - there's plenty to see.

 

12 kms east of Kathmandu is the city of Thimi, an ancient craft village famous for clay potteries and folk culture; is also a Homogeneous community with numerous festivals and cultural attractions. There are Buddhist monasteries, temples, courtyards and sattals with lots of things to see and show.

DAY 03: Observe activities of New year eve.

The Erection and Grounding of the Yoshin are two highly symbolic events separately mark the end of the year and herald the new Bikram era. The Sky is said to make love to the Earth via a 30-metre long ‘Yoshin’ (a ‘pole of love’) that represents fertility. Daring young men climb it and later it is brought down in an epic tug of war between rival sections of the crowd (tens of thousands strong) who haul on tangles of hundred-metre-long ropes amid a cacophony of music and chanting.

DAY 04: Welcome the Nepali new year by observing grounding of the pole / wheel chariot clash & tug of war.

The Clashing of the Chariots
There are so many chariot and palanquin-bearing events at Bisket Jatra that some call it the ‘Festival of Chariots’. We will experience several, but the most impressive involves a huge, lumbering, sacred vehicle with multi-tonne, wooden wheels, a swaying, elaborately carved carriage and a prominent phallus, mounted with a sacred metallic icon of Bhairab, the wrathful incarnation of Shiva (and patron deity for Bhaktapur).
 
Teams of enraptured young men haul the chariot through packed city streets, spurred on by chanting, and with dual goals of warding off evil and clashing Bhairab with a smaller chariot representing Bhadrakali (Bhairab’s female consort), for yet more divine dalliance.

DAY 05: Observe Sindur Jatra, Tongue Piercing, and Palanquin Chariot clash.

Vermillion Powder Festival
Known locally as Sindoor Jatra, the Vermillion Powder Festival is the most colourful event on the itinerary. It is also a new year’s celebration, but one that places special emphasis on experiencing joy. Beginning with bubbling pilgrimage the crowd soon hits fever pitch as a surging, dancing, singing, drumming, cymbal-clashing crowd of men convert the atmosphere into an ecstatic moshpit. Explosions of vermillion catch the sunlight as thousands of fistfuls of orange powder rain on as many beaming smiles and wiggly dance moves. Wave after wave of palanquin bearers then charge into Thimi square marking Sindoor Jatra’s morning climax with a visit from Ganesh.
 
Tongue Piercing Event
Straight off the back of the Vermillion Powder Festival, a tongue piercing ceremony takes place with a volunteer from the Shrestha family. He will get his tongue pierced in a spiritual trance with an iron spike and proceed through the city shouldering a bamboo rack and flaming torches. This act is performed both in order for the festival to continue, but also to bring good fortune to the city and the volunteer’s family.

DAY 06: After breakfast, enjoy an interactive home-visit to ethnic Newari family for about couple of hours. After lunch, transfer to Nagarkot hill top resort. Enjoy sunset over the Himalayas.

Torch-Bearing Eve of Brahmayani
One of several torch-bearing events, the eve of Brahmayani is a gentle contrast to the fervour of other days during Bisket Jatra. It’s a calming flame-lit procession through one of Bhaktapur’s most charming old quarters. Elderly men in the community lead the walk and each sing from weathered pages of Sanskrit as they take Brahmani (the benevolent incarnation of Devi) to a temple in Dattatraya Square for worship.

DAY 07: Enjoy sunrise over the Himalayas. After breakfast, return to Kathmandu. After lunch, sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Taa Din
An event that sees all the city’s idols taken from their temples around Bhaktapur for worship. From daybreak Newari women take a prominent lead, filling the streets in elegant, flowing saris called ‘haku patasi’ and traditional shirts called ‘Thana tagu kapoya lan’. Their cloth is dyed in un-ending patterns of scarlet and black, and they wear matching adornments of flowers and greenstones in their hair and around their necks. Their traditional role is to make puja (a Hindu prayer ritual) to the gods, but many also prove their musical talent as flutists in roving street ensembles.

DAY 08: Final departure.

After breakfast, you will be transfered to airport for final departure. If you have time, you can explore Bhaktapur city before heading towards airport.