Samyak Mahadan today

Mudita Bajracharya

Kathmandu, January 13:

Over 100 pre-historic statues of Dipankar Buddhas will be brought to an open field in front of the Swayambhu hill to celebrate the Samyak Mahadan festival tomorrow, which comes every 12 years. King Gyanendra will attend the programme as the patron of the ritual that is organised and participated by the Shakya and Bajracharya families of the Valley. This has remained a tradition for the past 352 years.

Secretary of the Samyak Mahadan, Subarna Shakya, said the King will be offered a special food on the occasion. “This will be a special event for the Buddhists in the Valley,” he said.

On the eve of the festival, an idol of Buddha was taken to Hanuman Dhoka from Swayambhu and more than 100 images of Dipankar Buddhas were brought there today for display. The idols, along with antique jewelleries and dresses are kept in the Hanumandhoka Palace. Members of the respective monasteries will take them to Swayambhu tomorrow. According to Dr Chunda Bajracharya, a cultural expert, this ceremony dates back to Licchivi period when a merchant, Sunder Sarth Bahu, invited the Buddha idols from all the monasteries to the feast during the rule of King Brish Dev in the sixth century AD. Dharma Jyoti Kansakar of Keltole organised a similar event in 1653 AD and invited King Pratap Malla. Since then Wotu, Lagan and Itumbahal residents took responsibility for organising the ceremony at an interval of four years.

But, after King Prithivi Narayan Shah unified Nepal, the citizens refused to accept him as the patron and the tradition discontinued for several years.