Six-month long historic Nawadurga Dance commences

Published On: January 16, 2018 01:49 PM NPT

BHAKTAPUR, Jan 16: The six-month long Nawadurga Nacch (Dance) also known as the 'fish killing festival' has kicked off from Suryamadhi of Bhaktapur from the day of Maghe Sankranti festival that is celebrated on the first of the Nepali month Magh. This historic dance was originated during the Malla period (10th-18th century) and has tantric origins. 

The dance is performed at various 21 places including Dattatraya, Kwathandau and Gachen of the Bhaktapur Municipality alone till January 29. 

Thereafter, festival will be observed in Sankhu for the four days before taking it to Chagunarayan. It will conclude on the day of Bhalbhal Astami of the month of Saun in the Lunar calendar, according to festival organising committee secretary Ratnaman Banmala . 

Areas where this typical dance is performed include Tamuadhi, Talako, pottery square, Nasamana, Gahinti, Kwachhe, Tibukche, Sukuldhoka, Durbar Square, Khauma and Itacche among others in Bhaktapur, the district famous for festivals and Sanga, Nala, Dhulikhel, Shreekanthapur and Kharpu among others in its neighbouring district Kavrepalanchowk . 

This dance is performed by devgans (special dancers selected for the operation of festival) by bare feet. They have the compulsion for collecting funds through cash offerings made by devotees. 

The culture is forced to depend on donation and offering made at various temples for its survival following the apathetic responses of the concerned authorities like the government, and Bhaktapur Municipality in this regard, they said. For running the festival that started on Monday this year, Devganas themselves have come out in the streets to collect donations from pedestrians, shops and vehicles. 

The total 12 masked devganas will dance out of their 19 members accompanying team. 

They will dance in the separate forms of Hindu god and goddesses like Bhairav, Mahakali, Barahi, Ganesh, Brahmayani, Kumari, Maheshwori, Bhadrakali, Indrayani, Dhumbha Singh, Mahadev and Swatebhairav. 

The audience will tease them with words 'Aa Aa Aa', and they will chase them in return. If a spectator is caught in the process, he or she has to pay money in fine. 

The performers are forced to discontinue studies, jobs and may struggle with various health problems during the festival. So the government must set aside budget to conduct the expensive festival, provide free health check-ups for themselves and jobs to their families, they have demanded. RSS

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