Janai Purnima is the essential Hindu festival celebrated mostly in the South-Asia dominantly in Nepal and India with different names. Janai Purnima is derived from the combination of two words; Janai means “Sacred Thread” and Purnima means “Full Moon” which signifies purity and security and protection against all evils. Janai Purnima mostly falls in the month of August. The different names are “Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi” in the lower belt of Nepal and in India, and “Kwati Purnima or Gunhi Punhi” in Newar culture.
The day following the full moon night is considered as the sacred day for celebration in various ways across Nepal and India. However, the widely accepted paradigm of the festival is people taking a ritual bath and renew their sacred threads. Uniquely, this festival also represents irreplaceable love and bonding among brothers and sisters. The sister ties a sacred thread around the wrist or torso and applies “Tika” on the forehead of her brother by saying prayers and blessings. Meanwhile, the brother promises his sister to protect her from all evils and hardships offering a small gift which is why it is also called Raksha Bandhan (knot of protection).
On this auspicious day, priests offer a Janai (sacred thread) to renew and put it across the chest to a large number of people followed by taking dips in holy rivers or lakes after puja. Believers flock to the temples to worship God, Shiva. Meanwhile, the Newari community prepares the delicious Kwati - a nutritious soup made from sprouted beans and celebrates visiting houses of relatives and friends.
Likewise, the Shamans or Jhankiris who majorly belong to the Buddhist Bon Po community attired in traditional dresses gather to perform ancient rites and rituals. Meanwhile, Shamans worship to increase their healing powers, bathe, play instruments, and perform dances. These sacred healers pilgrimage to one of the three highly sacred Lakes of Gosaikunda in Langtang Region, Kumbeshwar in Patan, and Charikot in Dolakha. Apart from these, people and shamans can also visit the nearest sacred river or lakes.
The trekkers who love cultures, festivals, traditions, and a life full of celebrations are highly recommended to trek during Janai Purnima. In the meantime, travelers in the high mountains experience adventure with holy rituals and mountain culture mixed with Buddhism and Hinduism. The trek to the naturally dramatic landscape, high mountains, beautiful villages, Mountain Rivers, and valleys decorated for festival leaves trekkers flabbergasted and mesmerized for a lifetime. Janai Purnima trekking is full of love, welcoming smiles, adventure, and celebration that inclines trekkers to visit back to Nepal.