Sankhadhar Sakhwaa and Nepal Era

 ७ कार्तिक २०६८, सोमबार १०:१३   | न्यूज अफ टोखा

Among the festivals of the Kathmandu Valley, Tihar, which is locally called “Swanti”, bears a special significance. Though it is celebrated along with the Tihar of the Bahun-Chhetri community, the locals of the valley, namely the Newars, celebrate it with different colours.
Of course, it is the festival of lights and we do celebrate it with glowing oil-lamps, candles and a few fire-crackers, which is similar to the Dipawali of India. But beside all, we also remember a person during the festival, who himself gave light to others, just like a candle. The person we are talking about today is none other than Sankhadhar Sakhwaa, who paid off debt of thousands of citizens and liberated them from the financial burdens, out of the treasure he got as a miracle.
As legends have it, there was an ordinary man called Sankhadhar Sakhwaa, who lived somewhere near Maru of Kathmandu 1132 years ago. Once he saw that a couple of labourers were carrying some sack-full of sand from the nearby river of Bishnumati and taking it to Bhaktapur. He understood that it must be extraordinary sand and he instantly bought the sand. The next day, the man found that all the sand in his basement had turned into real gold! 

Instead of consuming it, he used the miraculous property in liberating the people from the burden of debt and thus he launched another calendar of his own. He did not use his name for this but made it “Nepal Era” which is still in use.

There could be some debate on the authenticity of the legend but what we cannot ignore that a unique and truly Nepali calendar was launched 1126 years ago. Taking his contribution to the nation, the government also has recognized Sakhwaa as a national luminary. 

And the calendar has been in use since then till today. Till a Rana prime minister declared Bikram Era as the official calendar some 101 years ago, it was the official calendar for around one thousand years. Historians have evidences that it was used not only in Nepali but also in Tibet and India too, in some cases. Since it follows the lunar system, it is the window for Nepalis to determine cultural events, including the Tihar itself. The day of Mhapuja, the fourth day, is the most colourful day in the valley as tens of thousands of people gather at Basantapur and other city centres to exchange good-wishes among friends, organizations and even political parties. 

The New Year is celebrated in extravagant ways – in cultural milieu, rock and roll concerts, motorcycle rally, candle walk, publication of books and musical albums, decoration of localities with New Year greetings and so on. The mass cultural rally is the centre of attraction for some 26 years. They march along the path, in traditional costumes, with traditional drums and altruistic hearts.

-Razen Manandhar

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अन्तिम अपडेट: ७ कार्तिक २०६८, सोमबार १०:१३

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