Fagu Poornima, also known as Holi, the cultural festival of colors is celebrated differently in Bhaktapur.
Normally, Fagu is celebrated by smearing different colors and throwing color dissolved water at fellow revelers. But in the ancient town of Bhaktapur, this festival starts with the installation of a pole symbolizing the phallus of the Hindu God Bhimsen in front of Dattatreya Temple, amidst the singing of a Newari hymn with a sexual connotation. Devotees thronged to pay obeisance to this wooden pole about three feet long and 30 inches in diameter and cut in the shape of a human phallus.
According to a report in The Himalayan Time, the singing takes place here every day in the morning, till the full moon in the month of Falgun, as per the lunar calendar. The people known as ‘jayaju’ of the Bhimsen Guthi, a religious trust, sing this song.
Amidst the singing, the wooden pole symbolizing the phallus of deity Bhimsen is ritualistically inserted into a hole cut on a big red sheet of cloth signifying the genitalia of Draupadi. Draupadi is the wife of the five Pandava brothers in the mythological story of Mahabharata.
The wooden phallus is also taken around streets of Inacho, Bachutol, Jenla, Jagati, Brahmayani and Chyamasingh. Devotees worship this wooden pole and make offerings as it is taken around in a procession to each house and shop along the route.
Similarly, the festival has also commenced with the installation of a ritualistic wooden pole at the historic Hanumandhoka Durbar Square in Kathmandu on Friday.
The local Bhimsen Guthi has been marking Fagu every year as a traditional festival symbolizing sex and fertility.