KATHMANDU, Nepal Oct 04, 2011 -Though the Kathmandu Valley has nine Shakti Piths (power centres) having their own importance on the nine different days of Dashain, also known as Navaratri, a new trend of making massive, colourful pandals (tents) and installing idols of the Goddess Durga there to celebrate Durga Puja is evolving in the valley.
The trend, ushered in long ago by business tycoons, especially from the Marwadi community (known for business leaders of Nepal who has origin from Gujarat in India), is gaining popularity among people who do not know much of the culture related to the pandals.
“The culture of making the pandals has been borrowed from the Tarai region of the country, which initially borrowed the idea from India,” said Birendra Sah, an organizing member of a pandal at Koteshwor. “Our group is constructing it for the third time.” The pandal there is set up by small-scale entrepreneurs from different Tarai-based districts working in the valley. “We have spent about Rs 300, 000 on the pandal,” Sah said.
He added that Tarai-based entrepreneurs generally go home for the Chhath festival and set up pandals to celebrate the Dashain festival.
This year, pandals have been set up in Koteshwor, Lokanthali, Gaushala, Thapathali, Kamal Pokhari, Khulamanch and many other places.
“This is the second time that I am visiting a pandal. The portrayal of the victory of truth over evil is really great,” said Urmila Shrestha, a resident of Jadibuti, who visited the pandal at Lokanthali. “I have made up my mind to visit this place and worship here every morning throughout Navaratri. The tent’s design is beautiful and it looks like a real palace.”
The environment around the pandals is almost that in a village fair as hymns are sung through loudspeakers and many people visit the place out of curiosity. The idols are immersed in rivers on the 11th day of the festival, the concluding ceremony.