Gunhi Punhi ( Janai Purnima); finally! the Kwati day is here

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“Kwati khane din” or “Kwati Punhi”, is what the Bhaktapurians term to the day of Gunhi Punhi or Janai Purnima.

Every household, that day fills with this lavishing dish, called Kwati. It is more likely a soup, fragmented with the nine different types of beans. That includes ingredients like black gram, green gram, chickpea, field bean, soybean, field pea, garden pea, cowpea, and rice bean.

Kwati

Kwati
PC: Sajilo trip

Newar people celebrate this day as gunhi punhi. Because it is observed within the ninth month (gunla) as well as on the full moon day, of the Nepal era lunar calendar. Right after the Nag Panchami and a day before the Gai Jatra. Since this full moon day lies within the Gunla Parva, most of the devotees pay homage to the Swyambhunath too.

On the same day, the farmers show their gratitude towards frogs for being kind to them and spell rain for their farming. They offer rice and kwati to the frogs. Somewhere in the folklore, it is also heard that the farmers worship frogs for unintentionally killing them during their farming work.

Gosaikunda and Gunhi Punhi

People from all over Nepal and India prefer to go to Gosaikunda on the day of Janai Purnima. Though it is not a one-day hiking trail and destination, people targets to reach there on the same date as in Janai Purnima. After 3-4 days of trekking, they finally reach this 4,380m altitude ranging lake, Gosaikunda which is assumed the holiest lake of Nepal.

Even within the valley, the newa people have a trend to go there during Gunhi Punhi. They call it Silu Tirtha Yatra. Since they call the Gosaikunda Silu.  It seems quite an important destination for travellers.

gunhi punhi

Hindu pilgrims walk to sacred Gosainkunda Lake high in the Nepali Himalayas on August full moon. Pic copyright Timothy Allen. http:/humanplanet.com

Meanwhile, Gosaikunda is meant as one of the most divine lakes in Nepal. As per the religious belief, the lord shiva created it when he suffered from the poisonous kalakut Vish ( Poison). To cool down his throat pain and burning, he thus stabbed his Trishul to one of the hills and created the lake.

During the Samundramanthana, except him, no one could even bear to smell that poison. Ultimately, to save the world from that poisonous environment, he swallowed it and hold it in his throat. As for the effect, his throat became all off of the blue colours. That’s why he is thereafter also started called Nilkantha.

(Nilkantha means the blue coloured throat.)

Janai Purnima

The Newa people of Kathmandu Valley celebrate this very day as Gunhi Punhi. But the others inhabitants like Brahmins and Chhetriyas celebrate this day as Janai Purnima. The men renew their sacred thread (Janai) while others wear a sacred yellow thread called “Doro”.

janai purnima

janai purnima
PC: Maharjan Photography

It is said that Janai is the symbol of body, speech and mind. That’s why they have a sort of importance in the lives of Brahmins people.

Rakhsha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan
PC: nepalisansar.com

People in the southern region of Nepal celebrate Raksha Bandhan rather than Janai Purnima. It is a celebration of siblinghood where sisters tie a thread bracelet called “Rakhi” on the wrists of their brothers. And, the brothers in exchange give gifts to the sisters with a sworn promise to protect them.

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