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History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« on: March 07, 2008, 03:22:13 AM »
History of Nepal
                The history of Nepal can broadly be divided in to three phases, Ancient, Medieval and Modern. The history of the Nepalese monarchy has been the integral and inseparable part of the history of Nepal. Nevertheless, Nepal has much more than Monarchs when it comes to realm of history. It has a Vedic past to boast about and a bright feature to look to.

Ancient History of Nepal
            The history of Nepal dates back to 11000 years. The recent excavation in the Kathmandu valley has found out Neolithic tools. These tools were used at the advent of Neolithic era and many of them date back to 9000 B.C. This tells about the pre-Aryan settlement in the then Nepal. These people were of Bhutanese-Mongoloid parentage. Nepal once again gets mentioned in the Hindu epic of Ramayana. It is said that Janakpur, in the Tarai Nepal, has been the birthplace of Sita, the wife of Rama. Nepal is mentioned as Kirat Pradesh in the epic Mahabharata that is said to be composed around 1000 B.C. This place has been mentioned many a times in the epic. It is mentioned that the concerned king supported Kaurvas against the Pandavas in the battle. In the years around 500 B.C, Nepal had many small kingdoms and the most powerful among them were Shakyas of Kapilvastu. It was in the house of one of the Shakya kings that Gautam Siddhartha was born. He got the name of Buddha when he was enlightened. In the later era Nepal fall under the rule of the Maurya. Ashoka finds mention in many of the rock edicts. In the post-Christ era, the Licchhavis of Bihar ruled Nepal. There are many historical edicts that glorify the reign of Licchhavis.
 
The Medieval History of Nepal
          Nepal remained largely undisturbed in the medieval period. Mallas used to rule Nepal and were largely confined to their own territories. In the sultanate era, there were some attempts of assault on Nepal but they were met with sporadic successes only. The relief and the climate of Nepal have always served as its military generals. It was king Jaisthitimalla who tried to bring Nepal under one reign in the late 14th century. The unification was short-lived and Nepal got divided in to 3 kingdoms namely, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhadgaon. Apart from these, in the medieval period, Nepal was largely peaceful. May be that lull was going to bring a severe storm.   

The Modern History of Nepal
        The modern history of Nepal starts with the establishment of the Gorkha kingdom by Prithvi Narayan Shah in the 18th century. He had his own designs and wanted to unite the various warring kingdoms of Nepal. He was largely successful in his attempts of invasion. He annexed a large area of Bhutan and Tibet. His designs were later put to action by his successors. Their attempts hit a roadblock at the advent of the 19th century. The British East India Company got apprehensive of their maneuvers and took them head on. The kingdom was soundly humiliated and routed in the Anglo-Nepalese war of 1816. They had to agree to some of the very insulting terms, on the negotiation table. They conceded the entire Gadhwal and Kumaon region to the British India. In the same decade, Jung Bahadur, one of the valiant generals of Shahs tried to topple the regime. The queen met the efforts with the bloody counter initiatives. This led to various massacres on both sides. The Kot massacre is considered to be the bloodiest of them all where close to 30,000 Nepalese were chopped to death in matter of hours. This started the century long conflict between the Shahs and Ranas, the descendants of Jung Bahadur. In later years close to 20th century, both the warring dynasties established matrimonial relations between them and started to rule Nepal jointly. This pact is evident on the flag of Nepal as well. The two triangular flags, that are the part of a single flag, represent these two dynasties.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 03:41:25 AM by AnGeL »
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Re: History of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008, 03:23:56 AM »
Fairs and Festivals in Nepal
              Nepal has a vibrant Hindu past and that's reflected in most of its festivals and celebrations. Besides, being the close neighbor of India, Nepal has had a constant history of cultural exchange with it. Therefore most of the Hindu festivals that are celebrated in India are celebrated in Nepal as well. The most important of these festivals are Dipawali and Holi. The Dipawali or Lakshmi puja is celebrated as 'Tihar' in Nepal. The festival is considered very auspicious and is celebrated by both ethnic Nepalese as well as Madeshis, the inhabitants of India. Similarly the festival of color, called Holi in India, is celebrated as Fagun Purnima in Nepal. This festival is very popular among youngsters. Youngsters can be seen sprinkling colored waters on each other on this day. Other Hindu festivals such as Shivaratri, Magh Sankranti and Shri Panchmi are also celebrated with great pomp and show. The Buddhist festival of Buddha Purnima and Buddha Nirvana is widely celebrated as well.

Among the ethnic Nepali festivals, Mata Tirtha Snan (Mother's Day) is the most famous and widely celebrated. This festival falls in the month of Baisakh, the first month of the official Nepalese calendar. A festival called Gokarna Aunsi dedicated to father is also celebrated with much enthusiasm. The Nepalese community all over the world also celebrates a festival called Bhai Tika, based on Rakhi in India.

Among the fairs, the most famous is the one called 'Kumari' fair. This is celebrated to appoint a virgin girl as the caretaker to Lord Shiva in Pashupatinath temple. The procession starts from the ghats of the river and passes through whole of Kathmandu before commencing at the main temple. Though the liberals and leftists frown upon this festival, it is still the most popular fair in Nepal. The other fair that is celebrated with great pomp and show is the Maha Shivaratri fair in Kathmandu. The whole city is immersed in songs and dance where the majority of population is under the influence of local intoxicants. This fair culminates in to orgy at times. A relatively secular festival called Indrajatra is picking up slowly among the masses but is sadly confined to the intellectuals of Kathmandu and leftists in the Tarai region. Both Hindus and Buddhists celebrate this fair. This fair is generally organized in the month of September.
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Re: History of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2008, 03:27:44 AM »
Nepal Culture
                Nepal is blessed with a rich cultural heritage. Culture has been called 'the way of life for an entire society'. The statement holds particularly true in case of Nepal where every aspect of life, food, clothing and even occupations are culturally classified. In a society so feudalistic and so fractured across class lines, cultural heritage comes as a fresh wind. The culture of Nepal includes the codes of manners, dress, language, rituals, norms of behavior and systems of belief.

The culture of Nepal is a unique combination of tradition and novelty. The traditions are followed as they were and new customs are created to keep pace with the changing times. It is surprising to note that a country as poor, illiterate and backward as Nepal displays such flexibility when it come to incorporating traits from other cultures. Culture in Nepal is an assemblage of music, architecture, religion and literature. The mountain kingdom of Nepal is multi-ethic and multi-lingual. The land is rich with unique cultural groups like Tharu,Yadav, Ahir, Newars and others.

Nepalese are among the most hospitable hosts. This is the reason for which tourists from far and wide enjoy coming to Nepal time and again. Nepalese are culturally warm, hospitable and affectionate hosts who place their heart above their head. Religion is the lifeblood of the Nepalese. Officially it is a Hindu country, but in practice the religion is a syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs with a pantheon of Tantrik deities tagged on.

Nepal's food is surprisingly dull given that it lies at the intersection of the two great gastronomic giants India and China. Most of the time meals consist of a dish called dhal-bhat-tarkari that is a combination of lentil soup, rice and curried vegetables. It can hardly be considered, a dynamic national cuisine. On the other hand, Nepal has adapted famously to Western tastes, markedly evident in Katmandu's smorgasbord of menus: Mexican tacos; Japanese sukiyaki; Thai chocolate; Chinese marshmallows; onion and minestrone soup; borscht, quiche and soy burgers; and some of the best desserts - apple and lemon pies, almond layer cakes, fruit cakes - found anywhere in the world.

Art and Crafts of Nepal
Nepalese art is heavily inspired from Hinduism and Buddhism. The 2 millennium old Hindu and Buddhist heritage has survived various onslaughts and is still influencing the Nepalese art and craft tradition. Following are the various art and craft forms of Nepal.

Fairs and Festivals in Nepal
Nepal has a vibrant Hindu past and that's reflected in most of its festivals and celebrations. Besides, being the close neighbor of India, Nepal has had a constant history of cultural exchange with it. Therefore most of the Hindu festivals that are celebrated in India are celebrated in Nepal as well. The most important of these festivals are Dipawali and Holi.
Nepali Music
The rhythm, beats, bounce of Nepali traditional folk and classical music is spiritual enough to sooth you and entertaining enough to cheer you. Music is associated with every event in Nepal, then be it birth, marriage, festivals or National events.

Cuisines of Nepal
The most prevalent Nepali dish is 'Daal, Bhaat and Tarkaari' (lentils, rice, vegetable curry respectively). This is the main course served in the most Nepalese houses irrespective of the economic conditions, that too in both lunch as well as dinner. Nepali food is much less spicy than Indian food, and many dishes are Tibetan in origin. It seems that Indian influence is only confined to Southwestern part of Nepal.

Languages of Nepal

Nepal is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country. The Nepalese society has acted as the melting pot for various ethnic groups. Almost all of these ethnic groups have their own languages. Nepali or Nepalese is the major language of Nepal. It is also the official language of Nepal. There are other languages too that are widely spoken in Nepal such as Newari, Bhojpuri, Awadhi and Maithali. While the Newar community speaks the former, the immigrants from the Indian states of Bihar and Eastern Utter Pradesh speak Bhojpuri, Awadhi and Maithali.

People of Nepal
      Perched on the Southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains, the Kingdom of Nepal is ethnically diverse. The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations. These migrations have taken place from India, Tibet, and Central Asia. Among the earliest inhabitants were the Newar of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharu in the southern Tarai region.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2008, 03:29:34 AM by AnGeL »
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Re: History,culture & festivals of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2008, 03:34:49 AM »
Nepali Music
         The rhythm, beats, bounce of Nepali traditional folk and classical music is spiritual enough to sooth you and entertaining enough to cheer you. Music is associated with every event in Nepal, then be it birth, marriage, festivals or National events.
         Various songs, musical instruments and dances are connected with various religious, social and cultural lives of the Nepalese. Music is the heartbeat of Nepal. Music is associated to every event of life, then be it festivals, feasts, marriage, birth ceremonies or funeral processions. The main genres of Nepali music are pop, rock, folk, and classical. There are a number of other genres that are yet to be cataloged.

The following music genres have their roots in Nepal and are therefore considered to be indigenous. This includes: -



Newar Music
          The Newars are well known for their Newar music. It mainly consists of percussion instruments, some wind instruments and no string instruments. All the castes have their musical tunes and bands. People of all walks of life cherish music. There are tunes of certain festivals and seasons and even of certain times of day. The God of artists called N?sadya is found in all the Newar localities. The presence of a Newar musical band in a guthi is considered as a sign of opulence.

Khas Music

         Khas music belongs to the Khas society where castes like Damai used to play a number of instruments on occasions such as marriages, birth and other feasts. This tradition is now on decline owing to the growing popularity of television, radio and other means of mass communication. The minstrels used to play instruments like Sarangi but even the Gaine are declining in number.


Nepali Rock
         The rock music strata of Nepal got birth due to the arrival of Hippies in the Kathmandu valley. The epicenter of Rock and Rock-n-Roll during those days used to be Freak Street. The street was notorious for its marijuana, grass, hash and ganja that attracted many psychedelic rockers. The first recorded Rock and Roll song of Nepal is "diunlaa" by Kumar Basnet. With the advent of time, the rock scene in Nepal changed from the early rock to Punk and Metal. However, most of the bands that performed during metal era didn't produce many originals. Most of them were either blatant copy of western rock or slightly improvised cover version of the same. The present scene music of Nepal includes several popular rock and roll bands, including Nepathya, Robin N Looza, Mukti and Revival, and the long-running Cobweb.
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Re: History,culture & festivals of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2008, 03:40:36 AM »
Art and Crafts of Nepal
       Nepalese art is heavily inspired from Hinduism and Buddhism. The 2 millennium old Hindu and Buddhist heritage has survived various onslaughts and is still influencing the Nepalese art and craft tradition. Following are the various art and craft forms of Nepal.

Architecture
                   While walking through streets of Kathmandu you will notice the abundance of religious architecture in the city. Temples and Pagodas are strategically built around royal palaces as well as public places such as hilltop, riverbanks and community wells. Private temples were built by affluent class and can be located in almost every neighborhood. You will certainly notice the magnificent stone and woodcarvings on the temple and pagoda walls. Most of the stone carvings are from the eleventh and twelfth centuries and reflect the influence of Indian art from the Gupta period that stretched between 5th and 6th century A.D. Wood carvings are predominantly from the eighteenth century and is used to decorate pillars, doors and window frames, cornices and supporting struts. Struts of Hindu temples and pagodas of early Buddhist periods usually contain an erotic scene that attracts speculation from visitors. According to Vedas, the Hindu religious texts, sexual union also represents the union of the individual with the universe. Till 16th century, sex was not considered taboo in most of the parts of India and Nepal.

Painting
               The history of painting in Nepal stretches as early as 11th century AD, when efforts were made through illustrations drawn on the manuscripts made of palm leaf or rice paper. Thangkas, a more predominant form of painting, are popular among Buddhists in Nepal. An art form similar to it is also popular among Lama Buddhism in Tibet. Texts prove that it dates back to the late 14th century. These paintings are predominantly done on cotton and are rectangular in shape, though other forms have also been traced. They are framed with three stripes of Chinese brocade of blue, yellow and red, which represent the rainbow that separates sacred objects from the material world. Older Thangkas consisted of mineral-based colors. Frequent themes of Thangkas include images of Buddhist figures, mandala designs, the wheel of life design and depiction of scenes from religious stories.

Bronze Figures
                Bronze figures, sometimes alloyed with copper, appeared in the Nepal valley around 8th century AD. Recent excavations have found statues that are even older. Typical of other art forms these images usually represent religious deities or legendary figures. The most frequently used production technique is that of "Cire Perdue", that is a form of wax casting and became popular in Europe at the time of renaissance. Images often contain embedded semi-precious stones, usually coral or turquoise, or are gilded with gold.


Pottery
            The pottery craft of Nepal is unique in itself. This tradition generally flourishes in Patan and Thimi, a locality near Bhaktapur. The most common form of pottery is the terracotta oil lamps used to light homes during the Hindu festival of light called Dipawali. Apart from that you can also find flower pots decorated with pictures of peacocks and elephants. These are good for mementoes.
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2008, 03:43:52 AM »
Monarchy in Nepal
                  The history of Nepal is inseparable with its monarchy. Monarchy is a form of government where the King is the executive head of the government with or without a people elected government to support it. The history of Nepal, since years, has revolved around the two warring dynasties namely Shahs and Ranas. The former were the one who united the nomads to form a nation that is now known as Nepal. Ranas were the one who usurped the kingdom in the later years. The bloodbath between the two dynasties and the incidents such as Kot massacre will go down as the black chapters in the history of Nepal. Later, both these dynasties came in to matrimonial alliance and buried their hatched.

This alliance is reflected on the flag of Nepal too. The two triangular portions of the flag represent the two dynasties. The most illustrious king in the history of Nepal was Tribhuwan Bir Vikram Shah. The king was said to be pro-people and pro-development and initiated many reforms for the masses. No wonder, most of the buildings in Nepal are named after the monarch. His only son Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah followed him. Mahendra Bir Bikram had modern ideas in his kitty and it was he, who first blew the wind of change.

His eldest son, Birendra Bir Vikram Shah, succeeded him to the throne. A man of principle and a visionary, Birendra Bir not only carried forward the works initiated by his father Mahendra Bir Shah, but also revolutionized the process of grass root democracy. It was widely speculated that the king would some day take Nepal to the path of full-fledged democracy with a republic system to monitor.

Sadly, the king assassinated along with his immediate family in very mysterious circumstances in the year 2001. The finer points of the royal massacre are still unclear and unanswered at the same time. His younger brother Gyanendra, who was clearly not in sync with the changing times, followed him to the throne. He scrapped democracy in the pretext of possible onslaught by the Maoist rebels in the 'Tarai' region. There were wide and violent protests, which the monarch tried to subdue with the help of his loyal and ruthless armed force. The initiative backfired and he had to succumb to the International pressure. Finally he ordered the restoration of democracy along with sizeable clippings of his own executive powers.

From people worshipping monarchs as an incarnation of Vishnu to people vying for his blood, Nepal has seen it all. The new century brings new tidings for the people of Nepal. With the Maoists on the forefront and centrists at helm, Nepal is destined to see a bright future. As for the monarchy, the future looks bleak.
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2008, 03:46:23 AM »
Museums in Nepal
          Nepal has glorious past and priceless heritage to boast about. The country has a special tryst with history. From the birth of Buddha to the reign of Ranas, Nepal has seen it all. Nepal's tryst with the history has left many witnesses. These witnesses have been protected in the museums and galleries across Nepal. They are being protected with great efforts and that protection comes with a fancy price tag. Indeed you will appreciate the works done, in the extreme financial constraint, by the Archeological Survey of Nepal and Ministry of Culture. Things that have been excavated and collected from the length and breadth of Nepal have been kept on display at various museums and art galleries in Nepal.

           The torchbearer among the lot is The National Museum of Nepal. Situated at Katmandu, this museum has a vivid collection of artworks and coins. There are separate galleries for paintings, murals and coins. The museum has many Buddhist artworks as well. The most interesting section in the museum is the one dedicated to weapons and weaponry. Apart from the National Museum, the museum at Patan is a must visit too. The museum has collection of art works and statue that numbers more than 900. Among others, this museum stores artworks from its Licchhavis era. It contains both Hindu and Buddhist artworks. The National Bronze Art Museum is unique in itself. This museum only contains bronze statues. They range from Licchhavis era till the rule of Ranas. The display gallery has been artistically decorated to comply the mood.

The National Art Gallery in Kathmandu is a must visit site too. This gallery is housed in one of the oldest palaces in Kathmandu valley. The gallery contains various day-to-day items that were used by the various dynasties that ruled Nepal. Apart from that it has an archive gallery too that contains various documents and official papers used by the previous monarchs. Apart from these there are other smaller museums too such as Tribhuwan museum that is solely dedicated to the monarchs. Then there is Woodwork Museum that has no exhibit as such as the building itself is an exhibit because of its unique design and motifs. So, if you are an art freak then there is more than enough to see and do in Nepal.

    * Bronze and Brass Museum
    * National Art Gallery Nepal
    * National Museum of Nepal
    * Museum of Natural History Nepal
    * Patan Museum
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2008, 03:49:20 AM »
Bronze and Brass Museum
Location:     Near the famous Pujari Math in Bhaktapur
How to Reach:    Take an auto or hire a cab
Attractions:    Collection of Bronze and Brass items
Timing:    10 AM to 5 PM, except Tuesday


The Bronze and Brass Museum is located at the famous Pujari Math area of downtown Bhaktapur. This museum is just opposite to the National Woodwork Museum in the outskirts of Kathmandu. The museum is the newest to pop up in Nepal. This museum is primarily dedicated to the Newari lifestyle. Newars are the original inhabitants of Nepal and are mostly located in the central Nepal regions around Kathmandu.

           The bronze museum is housed in a newly renovated building. Most of the displays are either made of bronze or brass. Most of them have been restored and are in excellent condition. Among the displays are items of everyday use. There are separate galleries for the commodities used by common mass and royalty. Most of these objects date back to Mallas Period. Platters for worship, lamps, water pots, horns, and other items are on display to tell about the humble living of the common masses. The royal family has gifted an ornate inkpot and bookshelf that can be promptly seen in the royal gallery. The museum provides an insight of the Newars who have contributed so much in the evolution of the Nepalese society.
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2008, 03:52:00 AM »
National Art Gallery Nepal
 Location:     At the famous Darbar Square in Bhaktapur
How to Reach:    Take an auto or hire a cab
Attractions:    Collection of Manuscripts and chronicles
Timing:    10 AM to 4 PM, weeklong         


    The National Art Gallery of Nepal is one of the most interesting and the must visit sites in Nepal. This gallery is located in a very beautiful palace at Bhaktapur, amidst picturesque Kathmandu valley. The palace is said to be the oldest existing palace in the entire Kathmandu valley. This Palace has more than 50 windows that open on all the four side. Apart from that, the arches and motifs are worth appreciation too.

              Inside the gallery you have an impressive collection of paintings and murals from the days of dominance of Buddhism. There are some very old paintings that are known as Thangakas. Buddhist monks used these paintings for concentration at the time of prayers. These oil-on-canvas paintings are very old and dates back to Mallas era. Then there are stone-carved figures that dates back to Licchhavis and Mallas era. Most of these figures are of Hindu and Buddhist deities and, as typical of that era, have sexual overtones.

The second floor is entirely dedicated to historical chronicles and manuscripts. These documents belong to various monarchs from Rana and Shah dynasties and provide a deep insight in to the political, cultural, social and economical conditions of that era. Some of the documents are classified and are not on public display. If you are a student of history or a researcher, then this place will be of great interest. Nevertheless, researchers are required to take a prior permission from the Ministry of Culture for getting access to the classified documents.
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2008, 03:55:03 AM »
National Museum of Nepal
Location:     Outside Kathmandu near Sambhunath Hills
How to Reach:    Take an auto or hire a cab
Attractions:    Sculptures and Weapons
Timing:    10:30 AM to 3 PM, except Tuesday


        The National Museum of Nepal was established in 1928AD. It was initially structured to act as an arsenal museum. The building itself is very old and was constructed in the early 19th century. The initial name of this museum was "the stone house of arms and ammunitions". It was opened as a public museum in the year 1938 and was christened The National Museum of Nepal only in year 1967. Previous to that, only foreign scholars and invitees or guests of the Ranas were allowed to have a look of these wonderful collections. The museum has separate galleries dedicated to statues, paintings, murals, coins and weapons.


                   Among these, the most visited is the weapon gallery. This gallery has a very magnificent collection of weapons that range from the Licchhavis era to the British resistance period. Among others, it contains various types of Nepalese swords that are called Khukri in the local language. It also contains various types of guns that range from the sultanate era Turkish long barrel to the Royal Enfield built British guns. The coins segment is also very popular. The oldest coin on display dates back to 12th century. There are separate coins that were issued by the warring families of Shahs and Ranas.

The painting and mural section is not that impressive. Though there are some good medieval collections of Murals that have been excavated from the Tarai regions. These murals have deep Mauryan and Licchhavis influence. There are various statues too that have been excavated from the various parts of the kingdom. The ones from the era of the Buddhist dominance are the most impressive. Though very small proportion of these statues is in complete shape, efforts have been made to stop further corrosions. These efforts are worth appreciation because these have been undertaken under extreme financial constrains.
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2008, 03:57:10 AM »
Museum of Natural History Nepal
Location:     Outside Kathmandu near Sambhunath Hills, across the National Museum
How to Reach:    Take an auto or hire a cab
Attractions:    Various species of Fauna and Flora
Timing:    10:30 AM to 5 PM, except Saturday

                     The Museum of Natural History of Nepal is one of the marvels of Kathmandu. Situated at a walking distance from the National Museum, the museum will fall in your right-hand while going towards Swayambhunath hills. The Museum of Natural History has a very interesting collection of various species of the fauna and flora from across the Himalayan kingdom. The museum has various types of amphibians, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates in its collection. While many of these organisms have been stuffed, a lot of them are preserved in a chemical called Formaldehyde that is popularly known as Formalyne.

There is a separate section for insects too that contains various insects collected from the nook and corners of Himalayas. Many of these species are now extinct. The same is true for various species of mammals and other amphibians. All of these displays are organized as per their evolution. It has a separate section for plants too. This section contains various herbs and grasses that grow in Himalayas and Tarai region. This section is not as comprehensive as the section on fauna but is equally interesting. The museum is slowly picking up on the tourist map but is in dire straits because of the lack of fund. If you are a biologist then this place is a boon for you. If you are not, then also this place is worth visiting.
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2008, 04:00:36 AM »
Patan Museum
Location:     At the famous Durbar Square in Patan
How to Reach:    Take an auto or hire a cab
Attractions:    Collection of Artifacts and Statues
Timing:    10:30 AM to 4:30 PM, except Tuesday

               
                 The Patan museum is a one-stop destination for knowing about traditional artifacts and crafts in Nepal. This museum is located at the famous Durbar Square in Patan. The palace at the square has gold works on doors and windows and looks magnificent in the evening. The palace itself dates back to 1735 A.D and acts as monastery at times. The old palace has been restored and opened as a museum in the year 1997. Since then, this place has never looked back.

                               The museum's exhibits cover a long span of Nepal's cultural history and some rare objects are among its treasures. They belong both to Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Most of the exhibits have been cast in bronzes and have Gilt Copper repose work, for which Patan is famous.

The museum has more than 900 different exhibits on display. The majority of exhibits are sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities that were crafted in the Patan area itself. Most of these sculptures belong to the Mallas era. Others originated in India, Tibet and the western Himalayas. The ones originated from India have Licchhavis connection. They are accompanied by written commentary by Mary Slusser that attempts to explain their spiritual and artistic significance. It will take more than a day to even give a quick glance to these items. Prior permission is required for research activities.
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2008, 04:38:19 AM »
 :bye
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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2008, 02:58:47 PM »
Dashain Festivals in Nepal


During the month of Kartik (late September and early October), the Nepalese people indulge in the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon. Thorough out the kingdom of Nepal the goddess Durga in all her manifestations are worshiped with innumerable pujas, abundant offerings and thousands of animal sacrifices for the ritual holy bathing, thus drenching the goddess for days in blood.



Dashain commemorates a great victory of the gods over the wicked demons. One of the victory stories told is the Ramayan, where the lord Ram after a big struggle slaughtered Ravana, the fiendish king of demons. It is said that lord Ram was successful in the battle only when goddess Durga was evoked. The main celebration glorifies the triumph of good over evil and is symbolized by goddess Durga slaying the terrible demon Mahisasur, who terrorised the earth in the guise of a brutal water buffalo. The first nine days signify the nine days of ferrous battle between goddess Durga and the demon Mahisasur. The tenth day is the day when Mahisasur was slain and the last five days symbolise the celebration of the victory with the blessing of the goddess. Dashain is celebrated with great rejoice, and goddess Durga is worshiped throughout the kingdom as the divine mother goddess.

In preparation for Dashain every home is cleansed and beautifully decorated, painted as an invitation to the mother goddess, so that she may visit and bless the house with good fortune. During this time the reunion of distant and nearby relatives occur in every household. The market is filled with shoppers seeking new clothing, gifts, luxuries and enormous supplies of temple offering for the gods, as well as foodstuffs for the family feasting. Thousands of sheep, goats, ducks, chicken and water buffalo are prepared for the great slaughter. All types of organisations are closed for ten to fifteen days. Labourers are almost impossible to find; from the poor to the rich, all enjoy the festive mood. Anywhere you go the aroma of 'Vijaya Dashami' is found.

The first nine days of Dashain are called Nawa Ratri when tantric rites are conducted. In Nepal the life force is embodied in the divine energy and power of the female, depicted as goddess Durga in her many forms. All goddess who emanated from goddess Durga are known as devis, each with different aspects and powers. In most mother goddess temples the deity is represented simply as a sacred Kalash, carved water jug or multiple handed goddess holding murderous weapons. During these nine days people pay their homage to the goddess. If she is properly worshiped and pleased good fortunes are on the way and if angered through neglect then misfortunes are around the corner. Mother goddess is the source of life and everything.

The first day of Dashain is called Ghatasthapana, which literally means pot establishing. On this day the kalash, (holy water vessel) symbolising goddess Durga often with her image embossed on the side is placed in the prayer room. The kalash is filled with holy water and covered with cowdung on to which seeds are sown. A small rectangular sand block is made and the kalash is put in the centre. The surrounding bed of sand is also seeded with grains. The ghatasthapana ritual is performed at a certain auspicious moment determined by the astrologers. At that particular moment the priest intones a welcome, requesting goddess Durga to bless the vessel with her presence.

The room where the kalash is established is called 'Dashain Ghar'. Generally women are not allowed to enter the room where Dashain puja is being carried out. A priest or a household man worships the kalash everyday once in the morning and then in the evening. The kalash and the sand are sprinkled with holy water everyday and it is shielded from direct sunlight. By the tenth day, the seed will have grown to five or six inches long yellow grass. The sacred yellow grass is called 'Jamara'. It is bestowed by the elders atop the heads of those younger to them during the last five days when tika is put on. The jamara is taken as a token of Goddess Durga as well as the elders blessing.

As days passes by regular rituals are observed till the seventh day. The seventh day is called 'Fulpati'.

In fulpati, the royal kalash filled with holy water, banana stalks, jamara and sugar cane tied with red cloth is carried by Brahmans on a decorated palanquin under a gold tipped and embroidered umbrella. The government officials also join the fulpati parade. With this the Dashain feasting starts.

The eighth day is called the Maha Asthami: The fervour of worship and sacrifice to Durga and Kali increases. On this day many orthodox Hindus will be fasting. Sacrifices are held in almost every house through out the day. The night of the eighth day is called 'Kal Ratri', the dark night. Hundreds of goats, sheep and buffaloes are sacrificed at the mother goddess temples. The sacrifice continues till dawn. While the puja is being carried out great feasts are held in the homes of common people where large amount of meat are consumed.

The ninth day is called Nawami: Temples of mother goddess are filled with people from dawn till dusk. Animals mostly black buffaloes are slaughtered to honour Durga the goddess of victory and might and to seek her blessing. Military bands play war tunes, guns boom and officers with beautifully decorated medals in full uniform stand there. When the function ends the courtyard is filled ankle deep with blood. On this very day the god Vishwa Karma, the God of creativity is also worshiped. All factories, vehicles, any machinery instruments and anything from which we make a living are worshiped. We also give sacrifices to all moving machinery like cars, aeroplanes, trucks etc. to get the blessing from goddess Durga for protection for vehicles and their occupants against accidents during the year. The entire day is colourful.

The tenth day is the Dashami:

On this day we take tika and jamara from our elders and receive their blessing. We visit our elders in their home and get tika from them while our younger ones come to our home to receive blessing from us. The importance of Dasain also lies in the fact that on this day family members from far off and distant relatives come for a visit as well as to receive tika from the head of the family. This function continues for four days. After four days of rushing around and meeting your relatives Dashain ends on the full moon day, the fifteenth day. In the last day people stay at home and rest. The full moon day is also called 'Kojagrata' meaning 'who is awake'. The Hindu goddess of wealth Laxmi is worshipped. On this day the goddess Laxmi is given an invitation to visit each and everyone.

After Dashain everyone settles back to normal. After receiving the blessing of goddess Durga, people are ready to work and acquire virtue, power and wealth. Dashain thus is not only the longest festival but also the most anticipated one among all the festivals of Nepal.

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Re: History(culture & festivals) of Nepal........!!!!
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2008, 03:16:32 PM »

Tihar and Crows (1st Tihar Day) - Here comes Tihar to teach you a lesson! Early in the morning of the first day of Tihar, family prepares a good meal. Each member of the family takes the first portion of the meal outside on a platter. The crows come down in large numbers and partake of the feast, they will call others before beginning to eat : Share, Share what you have with all! Crows (Kag in Nepali) are considered as the messenger of the Lord of Death, Yama. There is a popular Nepali superstition of crows too: When the crows caw, sadness is coming.) On this day crows are worshiped and are kept happy. Where there are no crows, any winged animal of the heavens (bird) will enjoy the feast. So Tihar is also about appreciating animals around us.


Tihar and Dogs (2nd Tihar Day)
- On the second day of Tihar, Kukur (Dogs) are adorned with flower garland around their necks, red tika on their forehead, and are offered great meals, they are the king of the day! On this day, people pray to the Kukur to guard their homes. Call someone "Kukur", he/she will bash you instantly! There are lots of Kukur running around in search of a loving home. You can find them on streets and in your backyards, but on this day, even the most unsightly Kukkur will be treated like a king, everyone has a day. Tihar is also about breaking the boundaries only men created, "The Good", "The Bad", "The Ugly", and all but same to the mother nature! In Hinduism it is believed that Kukur guard's the underworld empire just like it guards our everyday homes!. Tihar is about loving Kukurs too!


Tihar and Cows (3rd Tihar Day) - The 3rd day of Tihar is about worshiping the mother of the universe - cow. According to Hinduism, the human infant is fed breast milk by its human mother for under three years. After weaning, the cow acts as the surrogate mother providing milk for the rest of the human life - through childhood, adult age and old age. Cows are the mothers of the universe, the sacred animal. The cow puja is performed by giving a tika to a cow on her forehead, and a flower garland (Flower Leis) on the neck, and offering good meals. Those performing Cow puja place her manure in different parts of the home, drink a drop or two of the cow's urine, as a part of a purification process. Also dip a blade of grass into the urine and lightly sprinkle it on each other's body to become closer to the mother of the universe - cow.


Tihar and Laxmi Puja (3rd Tihar Day) - One of the most important day of the festival is Laxmi Puja on which day the Goddess of wealth (Laxmi) is worshiped in every household in the entire Nepali Kingdom by means of Puja, decoration, candle lights, and oil lamps. In this 3rd day of the Tihar Festival, the entire nation becomes an illumination of lights. Pictures and icons of Laxmi Devi (Goddess) are placed and worshiped in a Puja room (or a place in a living room or a dedicated room for worshiping Gods) Puja is performed using flowers, incense, oil lamps, color-powders, bell and money (both notes and coins). Laxmi puja is performed at dusk using red mud, and puja is often done by a female in the family. She uses her hand covered with red mud to make a symbolic foot-print on the floor entering the home and makes a trail leading to the Puja room.

Laxmi puja is not only for households but is equally done by Companies. Business-Laxmi-Puja is done exactly the same way as is done in home. Usually company's cashier performs the puja during which time the entire office including office compounds are lit with various lights including electrical, candle lights, and oil lamps and usually staffs are invited to participate in the puja procession.


Tihar and Songs : Deusi Songs (4th Day) Male members sing what is called Deusi or Deusuray in Nepali. You can write just about any Deusi song as long as each line ends with the word `Deusi' or `Deosuray'. A group of males get together, carry what-ever musical instruments they have or can play, and sing Deusi door to door blessing the home and family in return for money and/or refreshments. Teenagers perform various Deosi songs to collect money for their picnic! Some may play Deusi to collect money to build a new trail in a far away village in Nepal! During the Tihar festival the only kind of songs you are most likely to hear from local Radio stations are nothing but Tihar Songs, Bhailo, Deusi and folk songs about sisters or brothers unable to see each other during the festival due to various reasons. A poor sister, now a daughter-in-law may not get even a day's break to visit her brother on this special day, and she might sing a song to make your tears flow!

A Sample of Deusi Song. Includes a similar meaning in English
Bhana Mera Bhaiho Deusuray. (Say it my brothers, Say it. Deusuray)
Sormelai Kana Deusuray. (Say it louder and say it in tune. Deusuray)
Rato Batoo Deusuray. (Red mud trail. Deusuray)
Nepali Madal!Chiploa Batoo Desuray. (Slippery trail. Deusuray)
Laddai Paddai Deusuray. (Slipping and Sliding. Deusuray)
Akeya Hami Deusuray. (Finally we made it to your home! Deusuray)
.... .... Deusuray
.... .... Deusuray



.... .... Deusuray
Yo Garma Laxmi Deusuray. (In this home Lord Laxmi. Deusuray)
Sadthai Aun Deusuray. (Always come. Deusuray)
Hamilai Denus Deusuray. (Give us what you have money or meal)
Bidtha Garnus Deusuray. (Please give us now, say good bye to us, so we sing for next home!)

(For an audio sample, visit web links at the end of this page!

Tihar and Myself! (4th Day) - The fourth day of the Tihar is also about worshiping yourself. This puja (worshiping) is known as as Mahapuja. This is also the first day of the special annual calendar of an ethnic group known as Newar residing in Nepal. The coming of a new year is also celebrated in Tihar. Also a popular ritual of the day is the Govardhan puja or Goru Tihar (Oxen Worshiping). Oxen are worshiped on this day as they till lands and help grow crops to sustain life.

Tihar and Tika (5th and Final Tihar Day / Bhai Tika Day)
: On the final day also known as Bhai Tika Day, sisters give tika (a colored powder placed on once's forehead), and mala (a necklace of flowers or also known as as flower leis, similar to that's used elsewhere like in Hawaii!) to brothers along with wishes for long life and prosperity.

To sisters, Tihar is also the time to re-call their continued wish for a long and a happy life for their brothers. Brothers sit on a floor while sisters perform their puja. Puja involves following a traditional ritual in which sisters circle brothers three times dripping oil on the floor from a copper pitcher. Afterwards, sisters put oil in brother's ears and hairs, then give Tika. Also breaking of walnuts by sisters prior to giving Tika to brothers is also a common practice. Tika starts with placing a banana leave already cut into a line shape placed on brothers forehead held by one of the sisters hand, then applying tika base (made from rice paste) in the open space. Then sister dabs seven colors on top of the base using her fingers. Some may give tika with the help of a small stick or a brush without the using banana leaves. In this case, small stick is dipped into the tika base, then brushed vertically on the forehead, then using a different stick, the seven colors are applied on top of the base. After tika, flower garland is put around brother's neck. Then brothers give tika to sisters in the same fashion. Sisters also receive flower garland around their neck. Brothers give gifts such as clothes or money to sisters while sisters give a special gift known as Sagun (which is made of dried fruits and nuts, and candies), and a fantastic Tihar feast takes place. Those without a sister or brother, join relatives or friends for tika. Sisters pray for their brother's long life to the Hindu God of Death


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