Truant top guns rob Phulpati off traditional charm

Kathmandu, October 6:

Phulpati rituals were carried out in Hanumandhoka today but the ceremony took place in the absence of head of state, ministers and high government officials.

In the past, Phulpati — a bunch of banana stalks, Jamara, Belpatra (leaves of wood apple) and Sugarcance — tied with red cloth along with Kalash filled with holy water used to be brought to Hanumandhoka from Gorkha district on a decorated palanquin. A military platoon used to lead the procession to Hanumandhoka.

But with the abolition of monarchy, ministers and other dignitaries chose to avoid the ceremony.

“Today, people seem to be more concerned about cultural issues the country is facing rather than indulging in traditional festivals. But we want our cultural practices to remain, regardless of who is in power,” said Pushpa Raj Shrestha, the priest of Taleju Bhagwati temple in Hanumandhoka.

“There is not much difference in Dashain during the Shah regime and now. Unlike these days, people used to clean up their localities to welcome the king in the past,” said Shankar Lamsal, a tour guide.

Saili Gurung, a shopkeeper next to Kumari Ghar in Hanumandhoka, said the number of people coming to observe Phulpati had decreased this year. “It’s new Nepal,” Gurung said.

While the procession moved towards Hanumandhoka, people joined by singing and dancing while some observed the procession standing on either sides of the road.