Cultural Dances of Bhaktapur
It is the process of worship by offering oil lamps to the deities. Usually it is a process used for gods and goddesses and holy beings. As our culture considers guests to be a form of god and goddesses, we present this dance constituting the Aarati in which Newari girls in their traditional attires will present it in the hope the peace and prosperity may shine down on us.
“Jyapu” is the word used to address males of the Newari farmer’s community and “Jyapuni” to address females. This dance depicts the legendary love story of a Jyapu and a Jyapuni. The story is a popular and touching as the story Romeo and Juliet and the Rajamati, the lead female character is a very popular among Newar’s of all age groups.
Newar’s celebrated every significant moment with great vigor. Whenever there is something to celebrate and enjoy, they gather and start dancing to the beats of the traditional drum, Dhimen. Dhimen beats are loud and make people jump to their feet. If interested, we would like our guests to join in the dance. One has the freedom of moving in anyway with the beats. With some alcohol, the joy of the dance is enhanced for sure.
Bhaktapur is also known as the “capital of cultural dances and cultural music”. Among many traditional cultural dances of Bhaktapur, mask dances are one of the most popular. And among these mask dances the Bhairav Pyakhan or Bhairav Danceis the most popular one. Almost all of the traditional dances follow some kind of legend and traditional beliefs and same with the Bhairav Pyakhan. The legend behind the Bhairav Dance goes as follows. Hundreds of years back, the evil forces and beings, Bhoot, Pisach andRakshasa, started to dominate the world. The evil beings, Daityas started destroying humans and the natural balance was threatened. Then the god Bhairava came down to earth with other divine bodies to destroy those evil beings for restoring peace and to maintain the natural balance.
To protect the country from evilsprits and different kinds of disaster like fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake and drought, the people of the Newar community all over the country used to worship different gods and goddesses to please them. In this dance, eight Matrika Gan dancers show dance such as Bramhayani Mahashwari, Kumari, Baishnavi, Barahi , Indrayani, Mahakaliand Mahalacmi; Ashtamatike Gan is taken to security Personal of the country.
Once, Mahadev, known as god of gods, gave a boon to Bhasmasur. Receiving the boon he became powerful and won the kingdom of Devas ruled by Indra. If he puts his hand over anybody’s head this person will be changed into ashes immediately. Being powerful, Bhasmasur became proud and cruel. He wanted to make his own wife the wife of Mahadev, Paravati. On the request of Devas to solve their problem, Bishnu, one the Tridev, changed himself into a most beautiful woman called Mohiniand proposed Bhasmasur to dance with her. Accepting that, Bhasmasur transformed into ashes putting his own hand over his head. Since the Malla period in Thimi, the same dance is performed among the people every year from Gai Jatra (Con Festival) to Indra Jatra.
Khya are mythical characters who are believed to be disciples of Bhairav, the feared from of Lord Shiva. They are dependent characters who would do anything to make their master happy. Occasionally they perform humourous and acrobatic performances to please their master. This dance is one of them.
Kumari is the legendary Living Goddess. The Newari culture considers all female children, until they attain adulthood, i.e. until they have their first menstruation, as Kumari and worth worshipping as goddess. This culture and belief must have been developed to protect female children from being mistreated. The performance is a dance by a Kumari.
In the time of Malla dynasty, Bhaktapur had a war with Tibet. Tibetans on their victory spree came to win Bhaktapur. Malla kings were scared and advised all country men to dump all the rice in store under the earth so that the Tibetans cannot take them away. After many days of war the Tibetans fled. Now everyone was worried about feeding because all the rice had been dumped. The king advised to people to go and check the dumped rice. The rice had turned dark brown and people were not sure if it still was eatable. On trying they found that the rice had grown more delicious and nutritious. Celebrating this occasion every year, farmers in Bhaktapur prepare this brown rice and bring it home in a joyous manner. This process is known as Buran Jya.