Villages across Sudurpaschim immersed in 'Jatras'

DHANGADHI: Local musical instruments 'Damaha', 'Dholak' and 'Narasingha Baja' are being tuned and the sound of traditional songs echoing from the villages in Sudurpaschim Province indicate that the region has immersed itself in its annual 'Jatra' festivities.

Jatras or local festivities have been going on for the past two weeks in the hilly districts and localities of the province.

The jatras, also known as 'jaant' in the local dialect, are packed with onlookers who come to witness the local shamans dance in traditional attires. The jatras are organised during the worship of family deities of the villagers. Therefore, during this fortnight, every village witnesses jatra one day or the other.

Today itself, people are revelling in jatra celebrations in Badi Kedar of Doti and Ugratara of Dadeldhura.

Likewise, people in the villages of Doti, Achham, Dadeldhura, Baitadi, Darchula, Bajhang, and Bajura districts of the province are whole-heartedly rejoicing in the festivities which last for 15 days from the day of Bhai Tika. The festivities will conclude on the day of full moon.

As the festivities fall during the worship of family deities, people who were unable to come home on Dashain and Tihar festivals also arrive for the celebrations.

During these jatras, the locals shamans make predictions of the future. People from all communities of Sudurpaschim Province go to the jatras to hear the predictions. In some places of worship, the jatra takes place during daytime while at other places during the night.

The period of these festivities is regarded by the people of the province as a time of worship and devotion. According to cultural expert Badri Prasad Binadi, jatras have a different kind of significance in Sudurpaschim Province, adding that they have religious importance to those who are inclined towards religion and cultural significance for those focused in culture.

Among the many jatras, Badikedar, Chakakedar, Shiladevi (Shaileshwori) jatras in Doti; Badaal Jaant and Ugratara or Dehi Jaant in Dadeldhura; Chaitoli Jaant in Bajhang; Mashta Jaant in Achham; and Basulinga Jaant in Baitadi are among the prominent ones.

Lokraj Joshi, cultural expert from Dadeldhura, opined that the jatras of Sudurpaschim are significant from religious, cultural, touristic and entertainment point of views.