Gunla Festival

Aug. 11, The Newar community people in the Kathmandu Valley are now celebrating the Gunla festival. For the Newars, Gunla, which is the 10th month of the lunar calendar Nepal Sambat, is the holiest month to pay homage to Buddhist monuments. Gunla this year started from July 29 and will conclude on August 28.

According to Ras Joshi, lecturer at Patan Multiple Campus, during Gunla, people visit different Buddhist shrines, Chaityas and Bihars to offer to those who are in need. People eat pure and simple food during the month. Most of the people do not consume meat, ginger, garlic, onion, etc.

Surendra Manandhar, artist/music teacher of Nepal Bhasa, said that during the month of Gunla, favourite music of Lord Buddha is played so as to please him. According to him, during ancient times there used to be wild animals around as the settlements were not near the Buddhist temples. To alert those animals and keep the pilgrims safe from wild attack, people started playing traditional instruments like Dha, Naye Kheen, Dhime.

Both males and females are seen playing traditional music at present. Until a decade ago, only males used to be seen playing traditional music. Earlier, people had a conservative mindset that females should not touch god and goddess and play traditional music during the mensuration period.

Gunla signifies a lot for Newar community. A number of important festivals take place during the month of Gunla. They include Naag Panchami, Gunpunhi, Bahidyo Swowonegu, Saa Paru, Mataya Jatra, Panjaran and Krishna Janmastami.

According to culture expert Hari Ram Joshi, devotees visit Changunarayan, Bangalamukhi, Bijeshwori, Shova Bhagwati, Maruganesh, Janabahal, Suryabinayak and Dattatraya temples during the holy month. On the last day of the festival, they visit Bungamati, Karyabinayak, Jalbinayak and Adityanath temples.

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