Gahana Khojne Jatra in Handigaun

Kathmandu, Apr. 9: People of Handigaun and its surroundings enjoyed the Gahana Khojne Jatra (searching for the jewel festival) at Gahana Pokhari (pond) of Handigaun.    

The chariot of Tundal Devi was brought with the musicians playing Dhime and Nyakhin. Gahana Khojne Jatra is one major Jatra celebrated by the Newari community of Handigaun. The historical town is famous for two major festivals, Gahana Khojne Jatra and Satya Narayan Jatra, also known as the ‘Kahi Nabhaeko Handigaun Jatra.’

Devotees carry a khat of goddess Tundal Devi (Vaishnavi) with the idol from her temple at Baluwatar. Then, the khat carriers take the khat inside the Gahana Pokhari (pond) to search for jewellery. One of the interesting things devotees offer is umbrella that is hung on the top of the pagoda-style three storied temple-shaped khat.

2 men take 3 rounds of the pond with a silver pole in their hands when the khat reaches Gahana Pokhari. Following the lead of a man, devotees enter into the pond with khat and they also take three rounds carrying the khat into the pond. After that, the khat of Tundal Devi is brought to the Dabali (a stage).

According to Bijaya Prakash Karmacharya, a priest of Tundal Devi Temple, they send prasad and flowers to the goddesses of Bhairavi at Nuwakot as a message that the lost jewels have been found. But, they are lost again.

The myth is that the three sisters – Mahalaxmi, Tundal Devi and Bhairavi of Nuwakot – were travelling along the sky and they were drawn by the view of the pond of Handigaun. Then, they entered into the pond for swimming.  

Tundal Devi happened to lose her jewel in the pond. As it was getting dark, Bhairavi of Nuwakot returned to their homes. Mahalaxmi from Naxal stayed there to give company to Tundal Devi as her home was nearby. After they found the lost jewels, both sisters returned home.

There is a tradition to give oil massage to the Tundal Devi five days before the main festival. Special worship is done in respect of the goddess by the sacrifice of the he-buffalo.

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