Auspicious Nepali Festival Makes its 12 Yearly Return

Godavari Fair

Photo: Barha Barsiye Godavari Mela
All Photos By: Shila Parajuli

Nepal is rich from cultural and religious aspects. There are different festivals celebrated throughout the year. When people talk about festivals, we are familiar with those that come yearly like different Jatras, Dashain, Tihar and so on, but there is one festival that comes in every 12 years called “Godavari Mela”.

This year, the festival officially started on Bhadra 1, Tuesday and will continue for a month. This festival dates back as far as 1000 years to the Lichhavi period. Godavari’s holy pond with five Dhunge Dharas (stone spouts) is believed to have been formed when the oceans were churned. It is believed that one drop of amrit (nectar) that came out fell on Godavari and the other in Nasik in India.

Godavari Mela is specially associated with lord Shiva. Last Saturday, I visited the mela (fair). During my visit, I came to know an interesting story about the place. It is said that Gautam Rishi was once grazing his cattle when one of his cows died after falling off the cliff. He asked lord Shiva to help; Lord Shiva in turn asked him to pray to Ganga, the river goddess. That night the river goddess appeared in his dream and the next day the water of Ganga somehow came to Godavari, at a time of the auspicious conjunction of Jupiter with the Sun – which happens in every 12 years. The saint is then supposed to have built the Siddheshwor Temple beside the pond at Godavari Kunda. From that day, the Godavari Mela is celebrated on the same day.

Sideshwor Temple

Siddeshwor Temple

The fair is well organized. People specially visit this fair to bathe in River Godavari. There is a separate bathing place organized for women and men respectively.

They say, "Bathing in holy river makes one pure!"

They say, “Bathing in holy river makes one pure!”

There are stalls of different categories ranging from food to clothes to accessories to almost everything and anything in between. Many visitors were seen attracted to the stalls because of the affordable prices. There were many priests from India too.

Priests from India

Priests from India

Priests put tika, as a blessing from god, on the forehead of those people who do not have time to visit Siddheshwor Temple. Many people take water of Godavari for their family members.

C'mon get holy water from the priest

C’mon get holy water from the priest

Rojina Karki, one of my friends who had accompanied me, said that as her mother could not come to the fair, so she had to take the river water for her family members.

In my opinion, the fair would be better if people are provided with good transportation facilities. They come to the fair with full enthusiasm but at the end of the day, they face the problem of lack of transportation facility while returning. Therefore, the organizing team can work on this issue. Besides this, the fair is wonderful! I recommend people to visit it at least once in their lifetime.