The picturesque Himalayas still dazzle me when I see them every morning. The perks of living in Pokhara and waking up early morning are definitely the mountains.
Our calendars are marked red for different festivals and every other month you have celebrations. Festivals and celebrations are usually a family affair but Pokhara knows how to do it best, bringing out parades and joys on the streets of Lakeside. Rejoicing to an age old rhythm called life and showcasing the rituals to visitors. March is regarded as the start of festivals for the year. It has its own excitement for each group of individuals. We celebrated international Women’s Day. Then came Shivaratri, a sacred Hindu festival to worship Lord Shiva that falls on the 14th night of the new moon. There are many myths and rituals behind Shivaratri, one being Lord Shiva danced the Tandava which signifies creation, preservation and destruction of the cosmos. Different regions in Nepal celebrate it in a different way. In Pokhara, we make bonfires, heat sugarcane in the fire and slam it on a rock to burst the sugarcane.The warm canes are chewed for savoury juices as an offering of Lord Shiva.
The world celebrated Earth Hour on March 23rd. In Pokhara, there was a free concert at a park nearby and an awareness campaign on saving the environment in different ways. An hour concert however, turned out to last for 3 hours! Students got to witness the famous celebrities and Nepalese musicians who rocked the evening away.
At the end of the month, we had our most awaited festival Holi: the festival of colours, love and joy. Like most festivals, it celebrates the triumph of good over evil. We played a water balloon fight with some kids near the house who attacked us with buckets of water after the balloons were over. We put colours on each other, danced on a parade with colours and savoured home made sweets that my mother made for allof us. It was definitely a colourful festival and indeed very joyous.
Festivals aside, students have had a great time at their placements. Some scrubbing in at theatre, some helping in emergency cases and some still trying to get their bearings! In a very homely environment, we usually catch up at the dinner table and exchange different ideas and views at the end of the day.
More from Nepal in April as we have Nepali New Year soon.
This blog was written by our Assistant Programme Manager in Nepal