This is one of the most popular masked dances of the
Newars. It is based on the religious story from a Hindu Puran Called 'Mahakali
Mahalaxmi'. According to this, the three goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi, and Kumari
(three of the eight deities that protect the eight corners of Kathmandu Valley,
have different ghost followers. These mother goddesses were practiced by Eighty
four sidhas to gain mystic power came down from heaven to vanquish the demons
that were spreading great misery and hardship among the human beings. The almighty
Goddesses waged a great war with the demons and defeated them, thus stabilizing
peace and order on earth. This dance expresses the great joy and happiness of
the people after the great victory over the demons.
This is one of the classical dances of Nepal and once a year during the festival
of Indra Jatra it is celebrated for nearly a week during the end of September
or first part of October. According to the people's belief, Lakhey are man eating
demons living in the dense forest. They consume animals and people passing through
the jungle. Whenever they have a good meal they dance with jog. Previously Lakhey
dancers used to select victims to be offered as human sacrifices.
It is performed by the teenagers wearing
traditional customs and sticks in their hands. The Nepalese still pay great respect
to the sacred myths and legends. According to the religious epic the Ramayan,
the dance was performed by the monkeys to express their joy and happiness after
Lord Ram returned with his wife Sita, on gaining victory over the demon king Ravana
of Sri Lanka.
Khyaks are supernatural
beings. They are believed to be followers of Goods and goddess. They were visible
to the people before the advent of electricity. They are quite harmless. They
simple used to frighten people at night. What the dancers perform is just the
expression of Khyak's naughty nature. They perform dances to entertain Gods and
Kawan (Skeleton) Dance
According to people's
belief, kawans are the evil spirits to be seen mostly at street-crossing and cremation-grounds.
They accompany the Gods and Goddess during their adventures. Sometimes they trouble
people, causing stomach pain. But one can get rid of it easily by making some
offerings and by following the advice of a witch doctor.
Daitya Sangram (The battle of Goddess and Demon)
This is a dramatic
dance form, here the handsome brave demon sees a beautiful girl and immediately
falls in love with her. Then he proposes to marry her, but she answers that she
will only accept one who can defeat her in a battle. The egoist demon gets very
angry and tries to catch her. But it is not possible. They start battling. The
demon sees her everywhere in the form of the furious Goddess Kali and collapses
to the ground with fear. Then the goddess, who is in fact the universal power,
stands on him.
b) Folk Dances
Jyapu- Jyapuni (Dhimey) Dance
This pair dance of the farmers is generally
performed during the harvest season in the Jyapu community, and is accompanied
with lively music and songs.v Indra Apsara (Nymph) Dance
In Veda, Indra
is the divine supreme Hero of the Universe, and the king of Gods, who dances
with Nymphs in the Heaven. This event serves as a memory to the local people of
Thimi who believe that their dead family members are watching this performance
in Heaven. The dresses of the dancers are, however, influenced by the customs
of Rana Ministers' period. This Dance is in form of medieval style.
Lusi (Pestle) Dance
This is a satirical street performance
on the social and political life, both at local and international levels. However,
the style of choreography and music are always the same, only the story will differ
according to time and space.
c) Charya Dances
Manjushree, believed to have come from Mahachin, holds
a special place in Nepalese culture as a Bodhisatwa who made Kathmandu Valley
inhabitable by draining the water out of it. It is believed that Long ago, the
Kathmandu valley was a lake and Manjushree who with his two consorts: Barada and
Mokshada came to Kathmandu to pay homage to Lord Swoyambhu, created the Chobar
gorge to drain the valley of its waters.
Bajrayogini, the goddess of yogic practices dances joyfully in bright red color.
She is the consort of Heruka and personifies the feminine energy. The temple of
Goddess Bajrayogini is situated 3 miles from Kathmandu.
The Pancha Buddha or Five Buddhas are Vairochana, Akshobhya,
Ratnasambhava, Amitabha Buddhas and Amoghasiddhi. Each of these transcendental
Buddhas has his particular color, posture, direction and wisdom.v Rakta Ganesh
The image of Rakta Ganesh (Red Ganesh) is generally found along
with Mahakala at the entrance to monasteries in the valley as a protective deity.
He is elephant headed and has three eyes.
Arya Tara Dance
She is of green color and regarded as a consort of Amoghasiddhi. She protects
the suffering beings and assists them in crossing the ocean of Samsara: the life