Gai Jatra (The festival of Cow and Satire): Gai literally means a cow and Jatra is a big carnival in Nepal. Gai Jatra, the festival of cow is celebrated in Nepal, mainly in Kathmandu Valley by Newar community. It falls in the Nepali month of Bhadra (in between August and September). People who had death in their families in the previous year organize Gai Jatra procession led by a cow. If cow is unavailable then a young boy dressed as cow is considered a fair substitute. After the procession is over, in the afternoon, the festival is celebrated with dancing, singing and comedy that cause mirth and laugh. Mockery and humor of every kind become the order of the day until late evening. Gai Jatra is considered as a healthy festival which enables people to accept the reality of death and prepare themselves for life after death.
Gai Jatra festival entered the tradition in the medieval period of Nepal during the reign of King Pratap Malla. He ordered all his people to organize such a festive event where they can take full entertainment by forgetting their pain of losing family members. Since then the festival has been organizing on the same cause.
14th Aug, Day 1: Kathmandu - 1300m altitude
Arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport at Kathmandu and meet, assist and transfer to the hotel by our representative. Welcome drinks on arrival and briefing of tour program by one of the representative from Aarya Village Travel.
15th Aug, Day 2: Janai Purnima - Festival of Sacred Thread (B)
Today after breakfast we drive to Pashupatinath Temple to observe the Janai Purnima in Bagmati River. Janai Purnima is one of the most sacred threads Festival of Hindus. On this festival day, Hindus Nepalese men, especially the Brahmins and Chettris perform their annual change of Janai. The Brahmins and Chhetris bath in the sacred rivers of the Vishunumati and the Bagmati. After bathing in the river they change the sacred thread worn across their chest. Other Non Brahmin and Chhetris people have yellow sacred threads tied round their wrist. It is believed that sacred Janai protect them from the dangers of the coming year.
Afternoon we visit the Kumbhewswar temple in Patan. We observe here the people taking bath in the sacred waters which supposedly come from the holy lakes in Gosainkunda set at over 4000 meters into the foothills above the valley. The courtyards around Kumbhewar are a very colourful sight during this festival. It is for people symbolically cleansing bath center. The throngs of people pay homage to the beautiful gold and silver linga of this temple. They usually keep in the temples.
16th Aug, Day 3: Gai Jatra - Festival of Cow (B)
After breakfast drive to Bhaktapur to observe or participate in the Gai Jatra Festival for whole day. The first part of Gai Jatra celebration is sad as the host family and their relatives cry in memory of dead person. But after the Jatra (procession) comes back to host family, the second part of the festival includes different funny songs, dances, jokes and mockery until the late afternoon. It is a festival of both grief and joy that facilitates to make people to accept the death as a reality of life.
You can participate in stick dance with local people.
17th Aug, Day 4: Kathmandu Sightseeing (B)
After breakfast, start full day sightseeing in UNESCO heritage sites. Sightseeing at Bouddhanath- World's biggest stupa, one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage where all devout Buddhists come for a pilgrimage, Patan Durbar Square- which is a distinct place for arts and architecture that reflect on each temple, monument and palace building that were mostly built during the Malla period between 16th, 17th and 18th and Swayambhunath- A Monkey Temple from where you can see the magnificent views of Kathmandu Valley and tribute to Buddhism. Rest of the time is free on your own.
18th Aug, Day 5: Departure
Approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight a representative from Aarya Village Travel will transfer you to the airport for final departure to your home country.