Arresting gods

Despite much fanfare, the three-day Pashupati festival 2006, which was organised for the first time with a view to promoting religious tourism in the country, failed to be a sell-out event. The festival, which was jointly organised by Pashupati Area Development Trust and Nepal Manav Dharma Seva Samiti, was expected to attract a large number of religious tourists and help showcase Nepal’s art, culture and tradition. According to the organisers, the turnout was rather dismal, owing mostly to lack of proper management and time to invite special personalities and tourists, not to mention the holiday season which kept most visitors busy in their own houses. Even on normal occasions, tens of thousands of devotees visit the Pashupatinath temple.

Considering that, any justification for the organisers’ failure to draw in large crowds is discouraging. The success of a festival does not depend on whether it is able to invite special guests but whether it can offer special attractions. The organisers should have been able to put on display traditional handicrafts representing our religion and culture. As large numbers of visitors were expected, adequate security arrangements would have made the visitors feel safer. It was the inappropriate timing of festival andlack of adequate planning that has thrown

cold water on an event which could have been a huge success.