Balkumari Jatra

Thimi Travel Blog

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Drumming, dancing, and throwing orange powder

They didn’t have chariots.  Instead I was nearly crushed to death by heavy palanquins carried on the shoulders of drunken men.


It had been two days since we slept at our guesthouse in Kathmandu, but on the way back from Bhaktapur, we thought we’d drop in on the town of Thimi where the locals were still celebrating Balkumari Jatra that morning for Nepali New Year.


So we hopped off the Kathmandu-bound bus a bit early and followed the townspeople to Thimi’s main square, home to the Balkumari Temple. 


We arrived just in time to wander around watching the townspeople dressing the various khats, or palanquins, that held various Hindu gods.


There were tons of locals making their offerings to the goods similar to Bhaktapur’s Bisket Jatra: various foods, coins, and of course animal blood.

The crowd carrying a palanquin


Then troops of men arrived with huge drums strapped around their shoulders.  Soon the energy in the square just started to build with the beating of those drums. 


The first palanquin came racing down the alley into the square while the hollering crowd scrambled to chase it as it circled the temple.  Orange powder was tossed into the air covering everything in site. 


And then the next palanquin came charging through the square followed by more dancing musicians and drunk partiers.  And then another arrived, and then another…..and the hoards of townspeople kept pouring in around the temple. 


It was this crazy, drum thumping, symbols banging, torch burning, palanquin carrying monster of a roaring crowd massing together into this one enormous orange-covered entity.


Between being crushed by the partying mob, dodging palanquins, and ducking flying orange powder, it was a stellar festival to cap off over two days of New Years celebrations after Bhaktapur’s Bisket Jatra.


We agreed to allot the afternoon to taking a well deserved nap.


PS:  I'm actually in Pokhara as I post this now.  I'm heading off to trek the entire Annapurna Ciruit. 



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Drumming, dancing, and throwing or…
Drumming, dancing, and throwing o…
The crowd carrying a palanquin
The crowd carrying a palanquin
The crowd carrying a palanquin
The crowd carrying a palanquin
photo by: Connie