Dipankha Yatra 2070-the world’s largest religious walkathon
Dipankha Yatra is possibly the world’s largest religious walkathon of “Neel Thu” (Blue Horned Oxen) associated with the legends of Dipankar (one of the 14 Buddhas) that takes place only when five auspicious astronomical and astrological features coincide on one day according to the lunar calendar. It is consider as one of the longest journey where the devotees are suppose to travel 60 to 62 km on foot, nearly traveling 25 to 30 hours. The procession is also taken as a symbol of religious tolerance among Hindus and Buddhists where devotees visits 131 temples and monasteries around the Kathmandu Valley. This year its on 18th of October, 2013 as Suarmas Sankranti, Chandramas Purnima, Rewati Nachytra and Harshan Yog fall on the same day. In Nepali, its on 1st of Kartik on Kojagrat Purnima of Dashain.
Dipankha Yatra is also one of the precious walkathon in which devotees are believed to gain dharma of one tola of gold in each foot-step. This means the devotees who joins the precession will get good deeds as he/she has earned 1 tola(11.664 gram) of gold on each foot-step. It is believed to be 900-year-old religious ceremony conducted from Nagbahal.
Bikash Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary-general of Dipankha Yatra Organising Committee said that the organizing committee will be providing facilities of drinking water, first aid, toilet and security at 43 points of the route at press meet held to give information about the yatra.
Moreover, the committee has also launched a free mobile application ‘blue horn’ about the map of the route, 43 points of aid, share and connect with Facebook and Twitter along with other features, as per Manish Shrestha, application developer from Kazi Studios.
He has also requested all the fellow participants not to wear leather shoes and also carry leather items as all devotees need to visit various shrines.
It is a symbol of religious harmony in Nepal dating back to age of Legends of ‘Dipankar’, though its history can be found on records as old as 1902 B.S (1865 A.D) in the holy scripts of Golden Temple, one of the major tourist attractions in Lalitpur.
The Dipankha is organized when five auspicious astronomical and astrological features coincide together on one day.
On 17th october, 2005 also Dipankha Yatra was organized which was occurred after 38 years. In this journey more than 100,000 Buddhist and Hindus had participated with much joy and enthusiasm. On the same year, the next Dipankha Yatra was also declared which was after 8 years and its now.
Those willing to participate in the procession should offer kisili (offering of rice grain, whole beetle nut and coin kept in a small clay vessel) on October 17 to Neel Thu Boddhisavttow at Nagbahal. It is like a kind of registration before going to yatra. And then next day the journey starts as early as 3 AM.
A outline places (map of Dipankha) of the 131 places visited is as follows:
- Neel Thu(Nagbahal) -> start
- Krishna Mandir (Mangal bazar)
- Karya Binayak (Bungamati)
- Anandadi Lokeshwor (Chobaha)
- Hasapota Ganesh (Jhamsikhel)
- Ashok Binayak (Maru)
- Ichangu Narayan
- Pula Swayambhu (Old swayambhu)
- Swayambhu Mahachaitya
- Naxal Bhagwati
- Khasti Chaitya (Boudhanath) day end
- Ashok Chaitya (Lagankhel) -> end
Entire Map of Dipankha Yatra
The Legend behind the Dipankha Yatra:
The legend behind this religious, cultural and social march tells a story of Lord Shakyamuni in one of his previous births when he was born as a Bull of spotless white colour which seemed to be bluish at sight with a sky like colour horn. The little bull is known in Newar language as “Neel Thusa” (Blue Bull Calf). Though born as a bull in its previous meritorious deeds made him very compassionate, friendly, joyous and always helpful to suffering creatures. As it grew up, it developed a sense of reverence to Lord Buddha for his compassionate teachings and as such, after days wandering in doing good to others he would come to pay homage to Lord Buddha.
Once it so happened that while being engaged in helping suffering creatures, he was late to report to his duty of paying himage to the Buddha and when he was on his way to Lord Dipankara Buddha’s monastery, it was dawn and he hid himself in a nearby place by shining brightly all around the site and some people moving around saw the blue bell being turned into a stone bull but mysteriously there was a mandala where it was petrified. It was the auspicious day of the full moon of Aswin (September-October). There was a lunar eclipse and the astrological feature was Harshana. Then the local people thinking to be a very sacred religious and auspicious occasion came to worship the blue bull calf.