Baisdhara festival pulls crowd

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 5:

Thousands of devotees from various parts of the valley and neighbouring districts today trooped into Baisdhara public garden at Balaju for the one-day religious fair to sing and dance and forget their cares and worries. The tradition of the fair dates back to the last Malla king of Kantipur - a valley kingdom. The Malla ruler began this trend to preserve the water spout in the region, claimed Hari Bahadur Kunwar, chief administrative officer of the garden.

The fair held annually inside the verdant park provides an opportunity to city-dwellers to escape the urban chaos and pollution.

The fair falls on the last new moon day of the year, according to the Nepali calendar. “This day has significance as the sun and stars are gathered in a special place to increase the religious value of the day,” informed priest Shreedhar Joshi of Ganesh temple, Naagdhunga. He added, “Any one who baths in the spout and pays homage to Bala Budhanilakantha receives divine favour.” Baisdhara (twenty-two stone water spout) is famous for the holy bath which is believed to heal various diseases. Bhaskar Sharma, 48, at the fair for the sixth consecutive year has less faith in what the priests says but is attracted by the sylvan serenity the park offers. “This fair has both environmental and spiritual value,” said Sharma. Kunwar said more than 1,00,000 devotees came this year. “their number was considerably larger than last year,” he added.

Around 60 security personnel and more than a dozen Scouts were deployed to maintain security, informed Keshar Budhathoki. Meanwhile, a blood donation programme on the occasion of 54th birthday of Queen Komal was also held in the park. More than 55 people donated blood.