BY A STAFF REPORTER
Kathmandu, Sep 29 : The ethnic Newar Community of Khokana is now busy celebrating Sikali festival on the eve of Dashain.
The festival commences on the day of the Tritiya after Ghatasthapana. Locals enjoy it by celebrating different rituals, performing mask dances and eating different food items till the day of Mahanawami.
On the first day of the festival, they performed secret puja at Sikali Temple on a tiny hill ground, located at 15-minute’s walk from the city.
Unlike other Hindus, the villagers of Khokana do no celebrate Dashain, nor do they receive tika and jamara though they do practice Hindu rituals.
The Sikali festival is very important to them so they celebrate this festival in a grand manner.
They celebrate it as an alternative to Dashain festival.
The seven-day festival is dedicated to goddess Sikali also known as “Ajima”. The fifth day of the festival is an important day.
On this day, the idol of goddess Sikali is taken out from the temple and put in a wooden chariot.
The chariot is then pulled through the village streets. Locals and Guthi Sansthan perform special puja on the day. The chariot finally is rested in front of the Sikali Temple which is located outside the village on a grassy hill.
The dancers donned in colourful attires perform masked dances following tantric rituals on the sixth day of the festival.
The dancers represent 14 gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon on the final day of the festival. The Newar priest wearing white ritual costumes leads the chariot procession and puts it at rest at Sikali Temple.
Three he-buffaloes are sacrificed for the final day celebration with dances and offerings made to the Siddhi Temple.
The festival is found to be celebrated since 336 Nepal Sambat during the reign of King Amar Malla.