Nepal is a nation filled with rituals and Jatras. This nation, sandwiched between the two major powers of the world, is small but is filled with rich cultures and festivals. Among the plethora of festivals, Temal Jatra is one such festival that you cannot find anywhere else in this world. This festival is one of the major festivals of the indigenous people of the Temal area from the Kavre district in Nepal.
Timal/ Temal Jatra is a festival that celebrates the victory of the Tamang over the demon known as Temal. Tamang from Nepal, India, Burma, and Bhutan visit Bauddha and Swayambhu stupa to take part in this festival.
But some of you may question–What even is this festival? Why do people celebrate Timal/Temal Jatra? How do people celebrate Temal Jatra? Is there any historical or cultural significance behind this Jatra? When is this Jatra celebrated?
In this quick overview of Temal Jatra, we will answer all of these questions for you. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
What is Temal/ Temal Jatra?
Temal Jatra is a traditional festival celebrated by the Tamang Community in Nepal. But as we mentioned earlier, the participants of this festival are not exclusive to the Tamang communities in Nepal. People from India, Burma, and Bhutan also participate in this Festival. We believe the Temal festival to have originated in the Kavrepalanchowk district of Nepal. The Tamang people of Nepal primarily inhabited this district. This festival celebrates the victory of the Tamang people over the Demon.
The day before Temal Jatra actually begins, participants visit the Boudha stupa and light memory lamps for the deceased. As per the beliefs, this lighting of lamps frees the soul of the deceased from the binds of the mortal plane and guides them to the afterlife.
Since the participants visit the stupa from faraway places, the Buddha stupa becomes a hub for celebration around this festival. Participants go to Bais Dhara to take a holy bath before traveling to Swoyambhu to repeat the process of lighting the memory lamps.
This process of lighting memory lamps and traveling to Swoyambhu is also linked with one of the myths of this festival.
Recently, Temal/Timal Jatra was celebrated on the 5th April 2023 of the Geregorian Calender (25th Chaitra 2079). The event took place in Bauddha nath Stupa located nearby our physical store, Lotus handicrafts.
Why is Temal Jatra celebrated?
It is hard to say why people celebrate this festival. However, there are two popular myths that may answer this question.
As per the beliefs, there are two well-known myths of the Temal Jatra. According to one of the beliefs, this Jatra originated when Kathmandu Valley was still a lake. During this time, Bupaswi Buddha from Bandhumati planted a lotus seed at Guheshwori after observing the valley from the hill of Jamachu Nagarjun. The seed later sprouted the light of Swayambhu on Ahasmi Shukla Purnima. It is said that figures such as Sikhi Buddha, Bipaswi Buddha, Manjushree, Kanak Muni Buddha, and Kahashya Buddha, along with many other practitioners of Buddhism, came to Swayambhu and Bauddha stupa to witness this event.
According to another myth, a demon named Temal used to live in the forest surrounding the Kavrepalanchowk district. He was known as the harbinger of disasters, which troubled the Tamang people a lot during this time of crisis. A Tamang warrior named Paruhang fought with the Temal and defeated the demon while being helped by the gods.
But besides the myth, this festival is also celebrated as an integral part of the Tamang communities cultural heritage. This festival is an opportunity to promote harmony between different ethnic groups within the community. Alon with this, Temal Jatra is also seen as a celebration of good over evil and victory over negativity.
How do people celebrate Temal Jatra?
This festival is celebrated by offering Nagsal (memory butter lamps), offering bows and expressing wishes, and chanting. Tamang people also engage in cultural programs, which include traditional dances and songs like Pharpare Geeta. The ritual offering is also a part of the celebration of this festival. All of these are the aspects you can see during the night at the Boudha Stupa.
On the next morning, people travel from Bauddha stupa to the Swayambhunath via the route of Nagarjuna. The celebration, filled with cultural songs and dances, prayers, offerings, and fasting, continues.
What is the Significance of Temal Jatra?
Temal Jatra holds significant cultural and religious significance among the people of the Tamang Community. This festival also holds a deep cultural significance, as this festival is a significant event in the community’s history and culture. Additionally, this festival is also an opportunity to showcase Tamang culture.
But besides this, the following are some other significance of the Temal/ Timal Jatra.
Temal Jatra is also considered a religious festival, as it involves the worship of various deities and offerings of food and flowers. The festival is believed to bring blessings and prosperity to the people who participate in it. Additionally, the religious myth involving Bhupashwi Buddha also puts additional significance on the religious aspect of this festival as well.
People from different communities come together to celebrate the festival at Bauddha and Swoyambhu. As such, this festival provides an opportunity to strengthen social ties and promote cultural exchange.
Timal Jatra is a major source of income for the local economy, as it attracts a large number of visitors from different parts of Nepal and beyond. The festival provides opportunities for local businesses to sell their products and services. Additionally it also contributes to the local economy’s growth.
In other words, Temal Jatra is significant because it is a religious and cultural festival. This festival allows the Tamang community to show care for their culture while binding participants of different cultural backgrounds together.
In the end
Temal/ Timal Jatra is one of the most important festivals in Nepal, especially for the Tamang community. This festival is celebrated at the turn of March and April, i.e., the Nepali month of Chaitra, and carries deep significance. On this festival, people of the Tamang community from all across Nepal, India, Burma, and Bhutan have a religious gathering at the base of the Bauddha Stupa. During this gathering, they offer memory lamps for the deceased, offer prayer, engage in cultural singing and dancing, and participate in fasting. The next morning, the participants make a journey to Swoyambhunath Stupa, where the festival is concluded.
Q: What is Temal Jatra?
A: Temal Jatra is one of the major festivals of Nepal, where people from the Tamang community of Nepal, India, Burma, and Bhutan gather around to celebrate their culture and traditions.
Q: How is Temal Jatra Celebrated?
A: Temal Jatra is celebrated by offering memory lamps, prayers, and food to the lords and indulging in cultural programs that include cultural singing and dancing.
Q: When is Temal Jatra Celebrated?
A: This festival is celebrated during the Nepali Month of Chaitra, which lies at the turn of March and April.