Saving Tansen's Ropai Jatra

Published On: August 18, 2019 07:24 AM NPT By: Mukti Prasad Nyaupane

TANSEN, Aug 18: Tansen, the headquarters of Palpa district and one of the major old cities of the country, is famous for various traditional and cultural festivals. Gai Jatra, Ropai Jatra, Ganesh Jatra, Amarnayaran Jatra, Shreenagar Jatra, Bagh Jatra, Taksar Ganesh and Bhagwati Jatra are some of the major festivals celebrated with much fanfare in this hill town.

However, Ropai Jatra has been losing its attraction in recent years as the locals are less interested in taking part in this festival, which is marked on Bhadra Krishna Tritiya according to the Lunar Calendar.

On Saturday, when the festival celebration was underway (see photos), only one group from Tansen Municipality-7 took part in the festival whereas more than a dozen groups used to join such processions in the previous years.

Rajendra Gopal Singh, a resident of Tansen who has been observing this festival for years, said that only a few cultural activities are happening in Tansen these days. “Newars have remained the major community of Tansen for a long time. However, the migration trend shows that the number of people loving Newari arts, culture and tradition is decreasing here,” said Singh. He also accused the local government of not paying enough attention to preserving and promoting local arts and culture.

Intellectuals from Tansen said that they are surprised over the people's growing attitude of ignoring the age-old culture and practices. The fact that though some of the Newar community's major festivals such as Ghantakarna Gathemangal, Chuiki Jatra, Gai Jatra, Ropai Jatra, Bagh Jatra etc are being carried out, Ropai Jatra is organized by communities other than Newar. A resident of Tansen Municipality-7, Nar Bahadur Saru told Republica that they are organizing the festival as the identity of historical and cultural town is in danger.

According to the ward chairperson of Tansen Municipality-7, Muktiram GC, the local business community, organizations and other locals have helped a lot the organizers to mark the Ropai Jatra festival. “We are all committed to preserving the culture,” GC added.

Following fast modernization and urbanization of the local areas, some practices which hold huge cultural significance in Tansen such as Ganesh Jatra, Bhimsen Jatra, Narayan Jatra, Malshree during Dashain, Mha Pooja, Karkha Gatha based on the story of Ujir Singh are getting less importance these days, unlike in the past.

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