Janai Purnima, the festival of threads (Photo Credit - Kathmandu Post)
Janai Purnima, the festival of threads (Photo Credit - Kathmandu Post)

Shamans throng Shiva temples as Nepal observes Janai Purnima, the festival of threads

ANI | Updated: Aug 22, 2021 23:15 IST


By Binod Prasad Adhikari
Kavrepalanchok [Nepal], August 22 (ANI): In the middle of woods covered with mist and fog lies a pond dedicated to Lord Shiva which leads to Gosaikunda, one of the holiest sites for Hindus high in the Himalayas.
Shamans beating their drums "Dhyangro" walk up and down up to the temple on the auspicious occasion of Janai Purnima, also known as the festival of threads.
Donning traditional religious attire, Shamans worship Lord Shiva, considered as the chief of Shamanism. As per various legends, Lord Shiva who has been worshipped in various forms was a Shaman and has been passing his legacy to various generations through time.
Shamans consider the day of Janai Purnima as a day to offer a quarter of their yearly earning to nature and would be returned with more blessing in coming years.
Also, it is considered to be one of the auspicious days to start learning Shamanism for which students are selected by established Shamans and brought along to the pond where they would be touring.
As the lake on the top hill of Kavrepalanchok District is considered the second sacred lake after Gosaikunda which is located at an elevation of 4380 metres, Shamans and devotees throng the temple from early morning.

"This temple is recognised as 'Gosaikunda'. For years, a fair has been organised here on the day of Janai Purnima. People from various walks of life and those who wear threads around their body come here to pray, worship and change it," Rameshwor KC, one of the devotees who thronged the temple told ANI.
The Tagadharis-- Brahmins, Chhetris and Vaishyas change their 'Janai' (sacred thread) worn across the chest on this occasion.
Similarly, a doro (thread) is tied to the wrist on the occasion of Janai Purnima. It is believed that God will protect if doro is worn.
Hence, the festival is called Janai Purnima. Janai is given only to the males of Brahmins, Chhetris and Vaishyas during Bratabandha, a ritual of Hindu youths that should be performed before their marriage. It is considered a symbol of body, speech and mind.
"Every year while celebrating the festival I have been visiting this temple which now has become a routine. I would find it quite uneasy if I break the continuation or come in a gap of certain years. That's why I come here to worship from time to time," Renuka Shrestha, another devotee who thronged the temple told ANI.
Considered as doctors of medieval and early ages Shamans are believed to possess the power to heal and treat patients of various localities.
Even now, people with spiritual problems or body pain visit Shamans for treatment which is mainly based on mantras and spiritual insights received from God as well as through herbal medicines.
With the advancement in the field of medicine and hospitality, the practice of Shamanism has now been confined as the continuation of tradition and cultural values. Males and females from the ethnic caste groups of Nepal are continuing this tradition which dates back centuries. (ANI)

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