Gathanmugah is the start of Newar’s festival which is defined as Kayahmacha Nakhah (son of festival) and Newar’s festival end with Sithi Nakhah that defined as Mhayamcha Nakhah (daughter of festival). This all festival are celebrated by newar communities according to place with family and relatives.
Gunla is one of month-long festival that celebrates in the middle of the monsoon according to the lunar calendar in “Nepal Sambat” and matches to August in the “Gregorian calendar”. Gunla is a sacred month of Newar’s Buddhists while reciting the Scriptures, observing hunger and visiting to holy pilgrims with religious music.
Gunla is one of the most important events in Newar Buddhism that observing the holy month is a descendant of the rain retreat greeting to Buddha while the monks stayed in one place and taught the Dharma. Newar Buddhists followed the Gunla Festival since ancient times. It will be celebrate from Gunlatho to Yalatho i.e. 20 days of monsoon month with various cultural music and traditional activities. Day after day in every morning, the sincere Buddhist monasteries pray Bajan Gunla along with cymbals and shwam.
Gunla Festival is not only about Newar festival, but also includes historical significance for all Nepalese living across the country. In this festival, group of people from different age from 5 to 80 years old all be playing nine different kinds of traditional musical instruments together. Duration of the Festival, prayers eat only once a day without salt and travel across the “Chaityas”, “Gumba”, “Bihars” and also many other Temple prays to Dhanla and the other for a month.
Faith in Gunla
Devotees mark the holy month of daily morning pilgrimages to Swayambhu temple in Kathmandu and other Buddhist temples by praying musical Gunla. The music of the band represent different locations of the city.
Devote recite Scripture and sacred courtyard. Some passing, fasting. More piety is Dyah Thāyegu during Gunla (dyaah thayegu), when the faithful will small stupas made of black clay using the forms.
Special days on Gunla Festival
Panjaran :- Believers in the menu to wait for alms receiver during Panjaran.Panjaran of the Festival is to give alms by Bajracharya males and Shakya caste leader around the city and committed them rice and money. Shrines are placed with the Buddha statues and paintings “paubha” in private houses, courtyards, on the road from where gave away gifts. The action takes place on different days, in the Valley of Kathmandu and Lalitpur.
The view of the Buddha :- The first day of the second fortnight of Gunla large images of Buddha Dipankara and “paubha” placed on display in the courtyard of the sacred ceremony called “Bahidyah Bwayegu”.
On this day, group of music band followed by residents of the visit to the sacred square in a procession to see the exhibitions. The Festival occurs the day after the full moon and corresponds with the Festival “Gai Jatra”. The other main Gunla Bajan celebrate by offer of Swayambhu and keep the Gunla Bajan concerts in the neighborhood.
Mataya :- Mataya is celebrate in lalitpur and very important religious event that when the Buddha overcame Mara, or temptation and reach the light of wisdom. The group of musical band and people from different place take a route to travel many cities and squares for visiting Buddha Shrine that takes to complete whole day.
Other celebrations during Gunla Festival
The 5th day is celebration of the “Nag Panchami” dedicated to snakes god. The 1st day is celebration of “Gai Jatra” that day is headed for memorial of dead family member and celebrate by wearing cow costumes and visit to different squares.
The 8th day is birth of lord “Krishna” that celebrates as “Krishna Janmashtami”. The 15th day is “Father Day” known as “Gokarna Aunsi” which is celebrates by worshiping father by different sweet food or fruits.
Here, some captured a few shot from Swayambhu during first day of Gunla Festival