An indigenous festival celebrated in Bhaktapur called Navadurga Jatra is essentially the nine Durgas’ mask dancing ritual. According to the tantric tradition, Parvati, the shakti of Shiva, manifests in nine different ways, and they are thought to be represented by demons in Durga’s nine incarnations. The Nava Durga dance festivals, which begin at Dashain and end at Bhagasti, are what make Bhaktapur so vibrant. The Bhaktapur celebrations are more akin to a life cycle that ends abruptly. A distinctive aspect of the Navadurga tradition is the use of masks, movement, and social roles. It is thought that the gods represented by the figures on the holy masks show themselves in the human form.
Seven of the thirteen masks that take part in the mask dance ceremony at Navadurga Jatra depict the Durgas. Mahakali, Kumari, Barahi, Bramhayani, Maheswori, Vaishnavi, and Indrani are the seven representations of Durga. Mahalaxmi and Tripura Sundari, the other two manifestations of Durga, are not visible to the general population. The other six masks are the guards Sima and Duma, as well as Shiva, Ganesha, Bhairav, and Seti Bhairav. Ganesha is the one who carries the Shiva mask. Sima and Duma, who are thought to as Shiva’s bodyguards, are viewed as bringers of death. If they catch it while playing Nya lakegu, the spiritual game with gods, it is regarded as a bad omen.
Nava Durga Jatra: History
According to myth, the Navadurga lived in the Jwala jungle, which was close to Bhaktapur’s route to Nala. The individuals who passed by that forest were captured, slaughtered, and drunk with blood by the Navadurga. With the aid of a mantra, Sunanda, a priest with extensive knowledge of tantra, was able to bind the Navadurga and prevent her from moving. He concealed them and put Navadurga under a spell. They were under a spell as long as no one could see them; if someone did, they would be released. The magic was broken when Sunanda’s wife, who had been wondering about them, came across them one day. They broke out of the home and joyfully danced in the streets.
People are educated about food and drink in everyday life during the Nava Durga dance procession. A dyo bwakegu, or offerring, is also shown based on parikar. Among the eighty-four meals are fish, eggs, bara, chatamari, yomari, soyabean, samyebji, meat dishes, beans, curd, and more. Ducks, chickens, calves, goats, piglets, and lambs are some examples of punch sacrifices. Chasing pigs all the way to the lekegu jatra is the main sacrifice.
It is believed that the offspring will be healthy and intelligent if the Navadurga diety’s offerings are accepted in exchange for the good deeds of fasting and happy marriage.
Nava Durga Jatra: Story Behind the Mask
The mask-making artisans from the Chitrakar caste begin production one month before Dashain each year. When choosing the right clay to utilize to make the masks, the elders of the Prajapati caste provide them advice. The masks have lovely illustrations and paintings. The Tamrakar caste is responsible for creating and maintaining the crowns used in Navadurga masks. A select set of persons with a long history of performing the task have been assigned the responsibility. In Ya Che, these exquisitely made masks are on display on the first day of Dashain. The priest of Taleju is credited with bringing the masks to life late at night using tantric vidya ta magic. When the final ritual comes around, these masks are then brought to their own shrine and kept on display there.
The god is thought to possess the masks and the mask dancers. People consider the masks and the mask dancers to be deities. In Susimeretol, the dancers present the first Navadurga public dance. Up to the final day, when the Navadurga masks are ritually burned in Bhagasti near the Hanumante river, the dances take place in various locations. Up until the month before Dashain, the ashes would be collected in a copper jar and kept in a secure location. The next year’s mask would be made from the ashes.
Who introduced Navadurga dance in Nepal
A festival known as Navadurga Jatra was first celebrated during the Malla dynasty and features mask dances that symbolize the goddess Parvati’s different demonic manifestations. This festival of mask dancing honors the Nine Durgas. This is common in the areas around Bhaktapur city. The Shakti gods, according to Mallas, were the protectors of their kingdom, King, and citizens. There are thirteen participants wearing masks in the dance event, seven of them are Durgas (Kumari, Mahakali, Maheswari, Vaishnavi, Bramhayani, Barahi, and Indrani), and the other six are Shiva, Ganesh, Bhairab, Seti Bhairab, and The Guardians. Buma and Sima Navadurga receives strength from Taleju through the dancers wearing masks, led by Mahalaxmi. Mahalaxmi is hence regarded as a supreme divinity.