Janai Purnima is one of the most sacred and significant festivals of Hindu religion
Janai Purnima is one of the most sacred and significant festivals of Hindu religion. The festival celebrates the bond of pureness and security. Janai means holy thread and Purnima is the full moon. On this day, Hindu Nepalese men of Brahmin and Chhetri group perform their annual ritual of changing Janai. Janai is a sacred thread made of cotton worn across the chest by Hindu men, especially Brahmin and Chhetri. They change this sacred thread after taking a bath in the holy river of Bagmati or Vishnumati or nearby rivers.
This thread is only worn by males who have performed a religious ceremony called Bratabandhan. Bratabandhan is a Hindu ceremony which is performed as a symbolic sign that a boy has reached the age of manhood and is ready to follow the rules of following the religion faithfully. Janai must be worn every day onwards for their entire life and must not disgrace the religion. In Janai, there are three cords, which symbolize body, speech, and mind and when the three knots have tied the one who wears is supposed to have gained completed control over each of the symbol.
They take a bath and makes their offering to Saptarishis (seven legendary rishis or sages) and their departed fathers and ancestors, then Tagadharis (Hindu men wearing the Janai) put the new Janai with a belief of having complete over body, speech, and mind.
Other people who are not wearing Janai, wears a sacred colorful thread called “Doro” around the wrist from Pundits (priest). There is a belief that sacred thread is worn for safety and protection. After some months, that thread is tied in the tail of cow on the third day of Tihar festival. This ritual is done for the safe passage to the heaven after death. It is believed that after a person dies, he/she would hold on to the tail of the cow as the cow pulls across to the Baitarni River.
On the occasion of Janai Purnima, thousands of devotees visit the Kumbheswar temple of Patan, Lalitpur. The temple lies in a complex that includes other structures like Bangalamukhi, Ulmanta Bhairava, and two hiti ponds. There is a popular belief that the water spring that fills the ponds comes all the way from the holy lake of Gosainkunda, which is located at the distance of 43 km north of Kathmandu. Taking a dip in that pond during Janai Purnima is equivalent to taking a dip in Gosainkunda itself.
Several devotees also visit the three sacred Gosainkunda Lakes, one of the famous pilgrimage sites of Nepal. According to Hindu Mythology, it believed that Lord Shiva created this lake when he trusts his Trishul (Trident) into the mountain to extract water so that he could cool his burring thread after he swallowed poison. That’s ‘why the water of this lake is considered holy and on the occasion of Janai Purnima thousands of pilgrims from Nepal as well as India visit Gosaikunda.
Gosainkunda is nestled in the Langtang region of Rasuwa district at the altitude of 4,380m. The trek to Gosaikunda determines true devotion to Lord Shiva and to be there during the Janai Purnima is regarded as the most auspicious. According to spiritual beliefs, people who take bathe in the lake would get rid of sins, pain, and grief.
The Gosaikunda Trek is filled with a varied array of flora and fauna, blanketed forests of rhododendron, bamboo and oak trees, picturesque villages of varied ethnic groups, enchanted divine glacial lakes, immense mountain vista, and especially, the myths of Gosaikunda itself, that create exceptional trekking experience and above all, get opportunities to immerse into Nepali traditional festivals and culture.
Also, in some part of Nepal, people present foods like Kwati, rice, and roti (flatbread) in a leaf to the frogs by placing them in fields. This ritual is done as according to the belief that frog brings the rain and ultimate farmers get to plant the fields with crops. Gai Jatra is another festival which is great the very next day of Janai Purnima.