Locals of Dolakha taking part in the Khadgajatra on Wednesday. Photo: Ramesh Khatiwada/Republica
DOLAKHA, Oct 12: Locals in the ancient city of Dolakha celebrated the traditional Khadgajatra traditional on Wednesday, a day after Vijaya Dashami.
The festival which is a unique feature of the city is considered as a celebration of victory over the evil. During this festival, dancing men dressed up in typical local costumes, take out a procession around the major locations of the city. Preparation for this goes on from weeks before. The procession reaches several temples as the participants offer puja. Similarly, local markets are set up for the event.
According to some locals, the jatra is on the verge of extinction as ‘the younger generation is no more interested in this culture’.
“This is very sad,” noted a civil society leader in Dolakha, Bharat Bahadur Shrestha. “The government has not given due priority to our culture and tradition either,” he added.
According to Shrestha, young girls and boys somehow participate in the jatra but are not interested in organizing such events. “They do take readymade food. But if they have to cook it, they won’t do it,” he said, adding that the local government must take steps to keep the jatra vibrant and give continuity to it.
He observed that the jatra did not attract huge crowd this year. Even last year, the participation was not encouraging. “We are experiencing a fall in the number of participants, this is worrisome,” he said.
Dolakha is considered rich in culture, tradition and arts. But with the charm of the Khadakjatra fading apparently, it is assumed that the aura of the city is fading too.
“We do have many other jatras. But Khadakjatra is the top one. And it is hardly attracting people,” remarked Shrestha.
There are too many things to distract people these days and one of them is engagement in social media. Shrestha believes that young people’s growing love for the virtual world has hit people’s normal life as well as such traditions.
“The roads are not good enough, it is not easy to come over here. That might be another reason for very little participation,” he said.
Street dramas are also organized during the jatra. One of the dramas include Mahishashur and Goddess Durga. And the battle goes on until the goddess defeats the devil.
There is a belief that the goddess loves blood so the devotees offer buffalo to goddess. Buffaloes are slaughtered after following certain rituals.