Gunla and Panchadan (Panchara) Parva

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Gunla and Panchadan (Panchara) Parva image
Image by Nelson Suwal

According to the Nepal Era calendar ( Nepal Sambat), Gunla means the year’s tenth month. And the month dedicated to the glory of Lord Buddha. That’s why it is an essential festival for Buddhists especially for those, who live in Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur city.

Gunla Parva

Gunla Parva PC: Prabin Shrestha photography

During the whole month,  Buddhists go and visit different monasteries like Namo buddha, Swyambhunath, Boudhanath, Bajrayogini and many other big and small monasteries. According to the lunar calendar, this festival starts five days before the Naag Panchami and continue for a whole month.

Somehow in Bhaktapur, people celebrate the last day of Gunla Panchadan or gunla festival differently, apart from the other two cities. The Five Buddhas who unknowingly are also struck as Panch Pandava by Hindus are brought to Taumadhi square.  But before placing them at Taumadhi, they are brought in Suryamadhi Tole, where the annual Panchadan (Panchara) takes place.

dipankar buddha

Dipankar buddhas
PC: Ujwol Photography

They are further accompanied by Gunla Baja. Gunla Baja is a special musical instrument played only in Gunla Parva. It is played for a whole month in the localities of local Buddhists. 

On the day of the gunla festival (the last day of the Gunla), people perform a ritual of donating five different things. That includes rice grains, unhusked rice grains, salt, money, and pulses. These things are true elements to survive in daily life. That’s why people donate these elements. However, in Bhaktapur, people donate those things that they had grown on their own fields like vegetables, paddy, rice, wheat and peas.

giving panchadan

Giving Panchadan
PC: Click Flick

For instance, the community holding surname like Manandhar, Bajracharya, or Shakya dedicatedly celebrates this festival. There are other festivals too which lies within the Gunla month. Although they are not exactly related to Buddhism, yet are celebrated under Gunla month. They are as follows:


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