By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM
If you are a visitor to Pokhara then you can experience Taya Macha tradition at most because Taya Macha culture is only practiced in Pokhara and not any other places in Nepal. Though the Kathmandu valley is the home of Newari culture and tradition, the tradition of Taya Macha culture was first conceived, practiced and popularized by Newari people of Pokhara.
Want to know more about Taya Macha tradition…? Let’s continue reading this areticle…
Nepal is well known for her rich culture and traditional history that has been practiced since time immemorial. Each community has its distinct culture which is unique and discernible. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity is manifested in various forms. Newari culture perhaps stands out singularly of being the most rich, scintillating and awe-inspiring.
The Newar community of Pokhara has registered a unique cultural ritual in their names, which has been celebrated among the Newar community of Pokhara only. This ritual practice is called Taya Macha. Taya Macha is a distinctive type of ritual dance which is performed on the occasion of Gai Jatra. By performing this ritualistic dance, a tribute is paid to the dead female members of the family.
Taya Macha dance is observed from the next day of Raksya Bandhan until the day before Krishna Janmastami. Taya Mach dance has duly carved a permanent place in the Newar community of Pokhara. This is the reason why Taya Mach dance has become the cynosure of all eyes today.
The Taya Mach dance is quite popular in the audience of all ages and interest. During Taya Macha dance, a large group of spectators scurry for an elevated location so that they can catch glimpses of the dance. Interestingly enough Taya Mach dance has already become popular among the Newar community of the country.
Actually ‘Taya Macha’ is a long and tall structure made of Doko (a typical conic basket) that is decorated with the clothes of the deceased female member. Hence, Taya Macha is the manifestation of the deceased who died in the last one year of Gai Jatra festival. If a male member dies in a family still a Doko is decorated with his clothes but its height is not as tall as that of female members.
These decorated Dokos are actually called Taya Macha and they are carried in procession around the town. During the procession, Taya Mach structures are held upward by a person and move forward with graceful steps.
Taya Macha dance teams converge at Chipledhunga and start dancing with graceful steps as such the whole atmosphere turns incredibly electrifying. Spectators stand around the Taya Macha dance teams and watch their performance. They dance in a group and each group wants to perform better than other teams.
Taya Macha dancing teams eye for the coveted prize that is given away to the winning team each year. Taya Macha dancers go through rigorous dance practice to win the competition. Since dancers are the focal point in the entire show, the prime importance of Taya Macha dance is gradually being shifted from tribute to the deceased to more serious dancing rituals. Generally the dancing group of Taya Macha consists of five dancers who wear colorful dresses. Along with the dancing groups is a clown who wears amusing dresses and makes the spectators laugh all the way.
Taya Macha dance has gone through some changes that have made this dance even more lively and popular among the audiences. Some 35 years ago some new characters like fairies, lord Krishna, Radha and few others were introduced in Taya Macha dance. Today old and new characters entertain the audience together.
On the occasion of Taya Macha dance, Taya Macha dance teams come out with their Taya Macha procession from each locality. The Taya Macha dancers look extremely attractive and charming in colorful outfits. A dwarf sized man, acting as a clown in the dance team, injects much laughter in the audiences.
Nowadays, the Taya Macha dance is not only popular in Newar community, but even the non Newar communities have shown their keen interest to participate in the Taya Mach dance competition.
In the past, the Taya Macha dance was originally performed by male dancers disguising themselves as women, but nowadays many women dancers have come out to join the Taya Mach dance. The growing interest of people in Taya Macha dance has already made Taya Macha a common festival of Pokhareli people.
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