Balaju Baisdhara Mela: Historical heritage of the Malla period, centre of religious faith (Photos)

Balaju Baisdhara Mela
Balaju Baisdhara Mela. Photos: Chandra Bahadur Ale

Kathmandu, April 23

The Balaju Baisdhara in Kathmandu has been thronged since early this morning by those who bathe and worship. Vehicles passing through the place have been diverted due to the traffic. Every year, a fair is held in Balaju Baisdhara on the full moon day of Nepali month Baisakh. This fair lasts for five days.

People from all age groups come here to witness the festival, which is also known as Lhuti Punhi by the local Newa community. It is believed that if you bathe in Baisdhara, you will get the same blessings as bathing at Muktinath and Gosaikund.

Gautam Prajapati, Coordinator of Balaju Baisdhara Mela Management Committee informed that devotees have been flocking to Balaju Baisdhara (Lhuti Punhi) fair since morning. To make it easy for the devotees to bathe, arrangements have been made for water flow from all the 22 stone taps. The committee has estimated that 230,000 people will participate in the fair.

Baisdhara means 22 taps in Nepali, Baisdhara of Balaju is a historical heritage of the Malla period. Around 875 Nepal, the last Malla king of Kantipur, Jaya Prakash Malla, initially established 21 stone taps. Later in 1855 BS, King Rana Bahadur Shah added a Dhungedhara (stone tap). Then the number of streams reached twenty-two. Hence the place got its name Baisdhara.

This place is located under the Nagarjuna forest on the north-west side of Kathmandu Valley. There is a beautiful park. After turning towards the Bypass from Kathmandu Balaju, you will find Baisdhara Park. Spread over an area of about 162 ropani, this beautiful park has become a relaxing destination for city dwellers.

There are temple shrines of Lord Bishnu, Shiva and others inside the park. Therefore, it is also considered the centre of religious faith of Hindus and Buddhists. It is said that the Mahayana philosopher Acharya Nagarjuna achieved siddhi by meditating in the cave where Jamacho Pahad, which is known as Nagarjuna in respect to Acharya Nagarjuna. The local Newa community calls this place Lhuti.

It is a tradition to bathe in Baisdhara and light a lamp in the name of a dead relative. Also, there is a tradition of bringing the Kadalchok Bhagwati of Nuwakot to Balaju and placing Goddess Bhagwati at Setopati buffalo is sacrificed.

The story of Balaju Baisdhara is also connected with Manmaiju Devi’s Jatra. Along with the Lhuti Purnima fair, the Manmaiju Jatra also begins. There is a religious belief that if you take a bath in Balaju’s Baisdhara and see Manmaiju Devi on this day, your wishes will be fulfilled.

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