The Sikali Jatra is a festival celebrated in the historical city of Lalitpur, specifically in the village of Khokana. This jatra is held in honor of the goddess Sikali, also known as “Ajima” or the mother goddess. In Khokana, the deity Rudrayani is also revered, and the Sikali Jatra is celebrated as a substitute for the Dashain festival.

Sikali temple surrounded by locals and devotees

The Sikali Jatra takes place between Ghatasthapana and Fulpati days. It is believed that during this festival, gods and goddesses in human form fly around the Sikali temple, which is located on a grassy hill just outside the settlement.

The festival begins with the procession of the goddess Rudrayani or Sikali, who is carried through the village in a wooden chariot and placed in front of the temple along with various holy copper vessels. Priests dressed in white robes, along with 14 masked deities, come together to perform a dance.

Locals dressed as masked deities
Locals dressed as masked deities
Priests in white robes with traditional musical instruments

The day before Fulpati, locals dressed in masks representing the Hindu pantheon go around Khokana dancing. The main day of the Jatra is the fifth day when the idol of Rudrayani Devi is taken from its temple in Khokana’s main square and carried in a wooden palanquin to the Sikali Temple. The palanquin is placed in front of the temple along with nine copper pots.

Idol of Rudrayani Devi
Nine copper pots
Copper pots
Locals dressed as masked deities
Local dressed as a Hindu deity
Priests making a round around the temple

On the sixth day, 14 of the 46 Devgans of Rudrayani perform khokana dancing all over the place. As part of the Jatra tradition, some Devgans also cross a fire that has been lit on the grounds of the Sikali temple. The Guthi leaders for the year also encircle the Sikali temple with a pot of rice on this day, which is then distributed as prasad to the devotees who gather to witness the jatra. It is believed that consuming this prasad can cure stomach ailments.

Guthi leaders distributing prasad

Overall, the Sikali Jatra is not only a celebration of the goddess Sikali and the deity Rudrayani, but also a time for the people of Khokana to come together and honor their traditions. This festival is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Nepal, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of community, faith, and togetherness.

Locals dancing around as dressed deities

As the festival draws to a close and the people of Khokana return to their daily lives, they carry with them the memories of the colorful processions, vibrant dances, and joyous celebrations that marked the Sikali Jatra. For the locals, the festival is a way to connect with their past and preserve their unique customs for future generations.

Local women ready to welcome goddess with copper vessels
Locals enjoying and revering in the religious atmosphere

In a world where so much is changing, the Sikali Jatra remains a steadfast symbol of tradition and continuity. It is a time to put aside differences and come together in celebration of the things that unite us. Whether you are a resident of Khokana or a visitor from afar, the Sikali Jatra is an experience that will touch your heart and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Written by Ms. Swastika Mali, Creator at Shonashree Imagery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *