Dipankha Yatra: World’s Largest Religious Walkathon
Dipankha Yatra : World’s Largest Religious Walkathon
Dipankha Yatra is possibly the world’s largest religious walkathon of “Neel Thu” (Blue Horned Oxen) associated with the legend 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. Furthermore, It is consider as one of the longest journey where the devotees are suppose to travel 60 to 62 km on foot, nearly travelling 25 to 30 hours. Similarly, the procession is also taken as a symbol of religious tolerance among Hindus and Buddhists where devotees visit 131 temples and monasteries around the Kathmandu Valley.
Similarly, this year it’s 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. Furthermore, Dipankha Yatra is also one of the precious walkathon in which devotees gain dharma of one tola of gold in each foot-step. Hence, this means the devotees who join the precession will get good deeds as he/she has earned 1 tola (11.664 gram) of gold on each foot-step. People believes that it to be 900-year-old religious ceremony conducted from Nagbahal.
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 color which seemed to be bluish at sight with a sky like color 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.
Furthermore, 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 bellng suffering creatures, he was late to report to his duty of paying him age 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.
Furthermore, It was the auspicious day of the full moon of Aswin (September-October). There was a lunar eclipse and the astrological feature was Harshana. Similarly, then the local people thinking to be a very sacred religious and auspicious occasion came to worship the blue bull calf.
The five features are –
1. Sauryamas Sankranti (First day in solar calendar)
2. Chandramas Purnima (Full moon)
3. Rewati Nachetra (An astrological event)
4. Harshan Yog (An astrological event)
5. Chandra Graham (Lunar Eclipse)
An 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)
Pula Swayambhu (Old swayambhu)
Khasti Chaitya (Boudhanath)
Ashok Chaitya (Lagankhel)
Sanju Dongol | Photo : Google | Duke Nepal