Food is unquestionably a big part of the Dashain holiday, and each year there are tasty tidbits to enjoy, some particular to the family or establishment serving them. On Monday, stopping off at my landlady’s to pay the rent, I enjoyed this plateful of Newari goodies, prepared by her teenage daughter this year for the family for the first time. In addition to the ubiquitous goat, circling the beaten rice was also chicken, mulako achaar (daikon radish pickle) undetermined greens, potato, peanuts and sliced fried goat’s lung. Yum!
The next day, Tuesday, was the auspicious day of Dashain Tika (October 8), and I headed to Khokana (famed for its mustard oil) to catch the last day of the Newari town’s unique Shikali Jatra, something I only learned about last year when one of our freelance writers pitched me a story about it. Unfortunately, this isn’t the year I get to experience it for myself, as it was already over the day I went–it’s either a three day and not a five day festival, or it begins earlier than I’d been told; never mind, I’ll make sure to come earlier next year.
It’s a quaint little town, though, with goats adding to temple still lifes (spot at least two);
empty, scrubbed chaang pots drying in the sun (sorry I missed out on the contents);
and old buildings of many kinds.
Heading back towards Kathmandu, I stopped at a local restaurant on a hill, where, after learning I only wanted a drink and not a meal, I was ushered to a seat with a view, where, in addition to homemade raxsi, Dashain snacks kept coming. When I paid my bill and headed out, full and happy, it was hard to see how I could have had a better Dashain; I’d have never come this far out without the festival, and despite being too late for it I was so glad I had.