Dashain is the biggest festival in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and incredibly diverse Nepal.
Although celebrated only by the Hindus – and some Buddhists - Nepal sees its biggest annual travel rush just before the ten-day-long festival when devotees worship goddess Durga. And indulge in a variety of activities that help Nepalis connect themselves with their roots.
For one, nearly two million people leave Kathmandu valley and travel to nearby or far-flung districts to spend time with their near and dear ones. And thousands more arrive home from around the world to celebrate Dashain. It’s also known as Durga Puja, Navaratri or Dussehra in India.
Yes Dashain is that time of the year when Nepalis reconnect with their family members, relatives and, most importantly, with their roots, their birth places with plenty of childhood memories – things that are closest to their hearts.
Dashain generally begins at the start of the Autumn and end of Monsoon, or the rainy season. Often, it sees some of the finest weather conditions, with clear blue skies and fields filled with merry-gold flowers and ripe paddy plantations.
In 2022, this may be different with rainy weather expected to last until Friday.
The festival is considered so important, both culturally and traditionally, that most Nepalis living outside Nepal too try to make it a point to return home. So much so that the even the annual conference of non-resident Nepalis living around the world often coincides with Dashain vacation.
The Dashain-time travel rush can be seen everywhere from major cities across Nepal to airports and entry-points along the 1,800-kilometre Nepal-India border from east to west.
On a recent morning, Dhangadi-based video journalist Arzoo visited Gauriphanta Border point, located at the southern edge of Dhangadi Sub-Metropolis located on the Mohana River banks, to film some Nepalis returning home from Mumbai and Goa in India.
Some of them are planning to spend Dashain and Tihar at home in Nepal. But after the Diwali or Deepawali ‘Tihar’, they are planning to return to India. Do watch the embedded video: