Pic Credit: Risingjunkiri.com


Hotel Roadhouse, a property of the Roadhouse Group being located in the center of Kathmandu beside Roadhouse Cafe witnesses most key celebrations held by the local Nepali people and their different cultures. Amongst all cultures Hotel Roadhouse encourages to keep the Newari Culture carried forward through its influence seen in its authentic Newari architecture and surroundings as well as the theme it provides to the guests visiting. As Thamel being the heart of the city is surrounded by places like New Road, Asan Bazar, Chhetrapati, Basantpur and more where the cultural celebrations are highly performed which has made it easier for it’s guests traveling to Nepal and staying at our hotel an easy access to witness such cultures being celebrated at distance of 10-20 minutes walk from the hotel itself.

Gathaamuga Chaharey or Gathemangal is a popular Nepali festival celebrated around July- August with much gaiety in all Newari cities and towns in Kathmandu Valley and beyond. This year it falls on July 26. It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and usher in good fortunes, with much fanfare.

Diving further into this specific celebration according to the legend, Ghantakarna was a man-eating demon who also destroyed crops and domestic animals. Fed up with his destructive antics, a powerful Tantric guru turned himself into a frog and killed him. As per the custom last rites had to be performed on the dead Ghantakarna so the people approached a poor member of the sweepers community (Podes) who went from house to house collecting alms to meet the expenses of the last rites. This custom continues till this day. A half naked pode with his body painted with obscene symbols goes from one house to another, with a group of young children, begging for alms to perform the last rites on Ghantakarna's effigy. He will say "Om Shanti'' and the kids will reply "Jai Nepal!" To his "Aaju Jai" "Biusaan Jai. Mabiusaa Jai'' the kids will reply "Haaa!" After the alms collection is over, he will ride the effigy as he holds a burning torch made of wheat or rice straw and the effigy is dragged from the street corner to the monsoon water fed river by a group of young men who then will dump him and the effigy in the river. The Pode will then bathe and go home.

After this rite is over, every household will have a small feast of samay-baji. Then they will perform a special puja to appease the soul of the Ghantakarna and leave the puja material which includes pieces of raw liver, lungs and intestines and burning oil fed cotton lamps in the four corners of street or temple. Then the oldest person will nail three legged iron nails on the main door and room doors to thwart evil spirits. Once the nails are in place no one will leave the house.

Ironsmiths make and sell finger rings and the three legged nails as a safeguard from evil spirits.

The Nepalese believe in ghosts and witches. They also believe that aspiring witches do a special witch graduation puja by sacrificing the husband or the eldest son at a secret place at midnight. The unfortunate victim is cast a spell and he will walk naked on all fours. People believe the victim is made to think he is a goat and bleats like one. The broomstick is his tail and the witch will tie a rope around him and lead him in the dark with her burning fingers to light the dark knight.

Gathemangal festival is also the start of the Nepali festival season.