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Luti Ajima, also commonly known as Indrayani is one of the main goddess among Astamtarika of Kathmandu. This shrine was established by Lichhavi king Gunkamdeva while establishing Kathmandu in a shape of Khadga.
Luti Ajima resides in bank of Lû: Khusi aka Vishnumati ( Keshavati ) near Nirmal tirtha just below the Udayaagiri Parvat.She is said to be the most poor goddess among Ajimas who suffered from lack of food and money .
One of the famous folkstory explains that the eldest sister,Vatsalaa Maaju ( situated in Gola desh ) organized a feast and invited all other sisters. That was Pahachare . Luti Ajima also went there with all her childrens. Finally the food was served to everyone there but Luti Ajima was served in ground instead of plates and she was served with Dushimari. Everyone then started to laugh and insulted her. She felt very insulted and took that dushimari and hide it in roof and then went out crying . As the children were hungry, they were troubling her and she left all her children wherever they started being stubborn as she was too stressed and in pain. On the way, when she reached at a place ( today’s Fasi Kyeba of Lagan tole) a woman gave her a pumpkin and asked the reason to cry. Luti Ajima explained in details about what had happened and then she thanked woman to help her in need. Luti Ajima then went home and she cooked pumpkin but unfortunately she was asleep. When she woke up next morning, she saw that the pumpkin was still being cooked. As soon she saw that,she open the lid and she was suprised ! There was melted gold. She then took it out and they converted into gold bricks. She took out as much she could but the pot wasn’t being empty .Ater having no options left,she started pouring them into the river. Finally,she threw the pot into the river .Then soon, she was very rich and she made a lot of jwelleries. The very next year , Vatsala Maju came to her house and invited her again for the feast. She again went there with her childrens and then she was served with variety of foods in gold and silver plates. After that, suprisingly she took off her jwelleries and started to feed them instead of eating. Everyone was suprised and asked her why she was doing that. Then she went to the place where she had hidden the Dushimari and brought that to the place.Then she replied to everyone that the honour wasn’t for her but it was for her wealth.She then warned her other sisters to not to walk by her house and she shall never pass by anyone’s house. Then from next year,she seperately organized a feast only for her childrens and celebrated with family.
In present day, the jatra of Luti Ajima is celebrated seperately on Balacharey where as jatra of other Ajima is celebrated on Pahacharey festival. Still today , the guthiyar should go and lock the door of the Luti ajima shrine, 3 days before the jatra resembling the Ajima is celebrating with family only. Bhudi Ganesh,Swachapu Ganesh, Jwalamai,Shova bhawati,Machakhacha and Swet bhairav of Chettrapati are considered her childrens and all of them are carried out in palanquin during festival. One of the intresting part of this festival is that the palanquin of these deities are taken through alleyways and innerways and none of them pass by any other Ajima temples.
Another intresting and wierd part of this festival is the firewood ritual in front of temple. The firewood ritual is performed exactly at midnight where special wood is burned. A pair of alive fish, alive sparrow, alive grasshopper, alive snake are put into the fire whereas a pair of each are freed in temple premises. The head of sacrificed buffalo is also dropped into the fire ritual and 32 different grains are also put into the fire. In the midnight, the group of people from Kirtipur still come to take a half burned wood from the fire ritual and the festival in Kirtipur starts 10 days after the fire ritual in Luti Ajima shrine.
According to a story, the pair of alive peigon was also put into the fire but once, a peigon got to escape from the fire. The ritual is considered incomplete without finishing all the rituals. So, people started to search the peigon with half of its right wing burnt. After 10 days of search, they found a peigon in a place called ” Ba Khu”. It again flew towards the Kirtipur and finally they trapped that peigon and then they organised fire ritual again over there as per culture. When the peigon was again put into the fire, a bright flame came out of it and then Luti Ajima appeared there. She said that the peigon shall not be put into the fire from now onwards and the festival shall be celebrated in Kirtipur as well. And then, the flame got vanished and a shrine was established there which is presently known as ” Indrayani” today in Kirtipur. That is why there is a tradition that the people of Kirtipur should come to take a wood from the main fire ritual.
The Dya Chhe of Luti Ajima is in Tyar Tole of Kathmandu where the seperate statue of Luti Ajima is placed which is taken out for the festival only. This festival is also called as “Tyar Mi Yaa Jatra ” which literally means the main festival of peoplw from Tyar tole. Luti Ajima is considered to be the main deity of “Saymi” community of Thahity. There are all together 6 palanquins and every single deity do have thier own ” Dya Chhe” and the expenses for the festival are personally done.
There is a traditional hymn which is still sung during the festival ” Aadima wosa yaa thaana, luti yaa jaye indrayani…” which literally means that The luti pith is of Adim kaal ( ancient time. The shrine of Luti Ajima is also visited during Yanlaa festival by certain groups of people. Presently, the practice of Yanlaa has been stopped in Luti already and no one comes here during Yanlaa.
In present day, the festival is in threat that it might get lost in near future. A few number of people from Tyar tole takes part in this festival where as the labours are hired for carrying the palanquin of Luti Ajima and the family living in Dya Chhe pays 1000-1500 per day to each of the labour. No music groups are seen in the festival except the music group from Thahity.
1. Lu Khusi (लुँ खुसी) is a native name for ” Bishnumati” river which literally means a river which brings gold with sand. The story explains Luti Ajima threw the pot of melted gold in the river.
2.Nirmal Tirtha is one of the important tirtha where Bhadramati river meets Bishnumati river and is said ti be the sacred home of ” Ghori Naag”.
- Vatsala Maaju is called as Vatsaleswari which is in bank of Bagmati river near Pashupati.
GOLA desh is a term that refers to the present Pashupatinath area and Deupatan area.
Balacharey is the no moon day of Mangsir which is 8th month of Bikram Sambat calendar.
6.Dushimari is a flat bread made out of millets and wheat which gets very hard after it cools.
- ” Ba khu” is a native term and that place is known as Balkhu in present day. Bakhu literally means Peigon in native language of Kathmandu.
Pic Credit : Old Images of Nepal