Lhosar is a combination of two Tibetan words, “Lho” and “Sar”. Lho refers to year and Sar means New and hence Lhosar is the celebration of the New Year. The ethnical tribes in Nepal who are the descendents of Tibetan Buddhists or follow Tibetan Buddhism have their own Lhosar. December 30th in most of the years is significant day for the Gurungs or Tamus of Nepal as their Lhosar falls on this day.
The indigenous inhabitants of the mountains in west-central region in Nepal the Gurung, is the globally admired ethnical tribe for bravery and authentic culture. Always welcoming in nature the Gurungs, have scores of clans within themselves. This unique ethnical tribe in Nepal breakdowns time into cycle of 12 years, which is known as Lohokor. Hence, every new year as per the Gurung calendar manifests the change of Lho, which are represented by the species of animals including garuda, serpent, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, dog, deer, mouse, cow, tiger and cat. The Tamu Lhosar this year was celebrating the beginning of the horse year. Tamu Lhosar being the one of the biggest festivals of Nepal has been a joyful celebration throughout the mid-hills of the country.
Celebration of Tamu Lhosar brings the families of Gurungs together. Gurungs of all ages and genders gather at a place to celebrate the beginning of Tamu New Year. They exchange love and greetings. Prior to the celebration, they visit the sacred Buddhist Shrines nearby and offer their prayers. In remote villages, every Gurung communities gather at a village courtyard or in an open space for the celebration of Lhosar with feast, cultural dances and wishes for each other. The same process happens in the big cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. However, Lhosar in Kathmandu and Pokhara is grander and visitors have so many authentic things to see.
Gurungs across the globe observe Tamu Lhosar with cultural rallies and performances and in the unique manifestation things worthwhile to watch are their traditional costume and the lifestyle they practiced decades ago. Explore Himalaya visited the site of Tamu Lhosar celebration in Kathmandu, the wide spread open space in the city center- Tudhikhel. The place is adorned with colorful and vibrant stalls and stages with thousands of people flooding inside, in very few occasions and Tamu Lhosar is one them.
As we reached Tudhikhel, thousands of Gurungs were already there to observe the festival. Men were dressed in Bhangra, (a white cloth tied across the chest and opened like a bag at the back) and a Kachhad, (a short sarong). The women including elderly citizens, adolescents and little children wore their traditional velvet Ghalek (blouses), traditional saris and were adorned with large gold earrings and colorful stone necklaces. Girls especially with the marks of national flags on their cheeks demonstrated a degree of patriotism. The place was full of cultural highlights. The Prime Minister of Nepal also had attended the ceremony with other leaders to wish this great community “A very Happy Lhosar”. The cultural Gurung music and dances including Rodhi, Chudka, Sorathi, Ghantu and Dohori were demonstrated for the guests and the local public. The feast was ongoing in every corner of Tudhikhel. The feast included typical Nepali bread (Sel-roti), pickle (aachar), local alcohol (rakshi) and several other items of food. The entire environment was amazing. Beautiful people were wondering everywhere. The place was full of life and the attitude of the Gurungs was welcoming, for which they are well known in Nepal.
Exploring the traditional culture of this ethnical tribe was a great experience. It was probably the best opportunity to grasp every authentic culture of Gurungs without trekking to the mountainous villages of western Nepal. Every bit of Gurung culture was on the floor. Their traditional attire, cultural performances, their lifestyle, the native language and the wonderful hospitality- every color of the tribe of the warriors was spilling throughout Tudhikhel.
Finally few random shots
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.