“Phulpati shovayatra” - Darjeeling kicks off festival with flower march

Phulpati shovayatra at Mungpoo
The hills kicked off the Dashain (Dusshera) festivities with a “Phulpati shovayatra” amid fervour that was missing last year because of the 104-day statehood strike.
This year, 25 associations participated in the shovayatra (rally), a unique custom of the Gorkhas. The members of the community collect flowers, petals, and other offerings from their houses and temples and take them to a puja pandal to pay obeisance to Goddess Durga.
The decorated palanquin carrying the sacred flowers (phul), leaves (pati) and sugarcane tied in red clothes — the colour symbolising the goddess — is usually accompanied by an ornate umbrella. It is believed that people who pass underneath the palanquin are absolved of their sins.
The tradition dates back to the days of King Pritivinarayan Shah (1723-1775) of Nepal when the Phulpati procession used to start from Gorkha, his native place, and end at Kathmandu after covering hundreds of miles.
On Tuesday, the rally started from Darjeeling Motor Stand and wound its way to Chowrasta at a pandal. It was accompanied by traditional dance and music with people from various Gorkha clans showcasing their tradition. Young girls dressed as various Hindu gods rode ponies through the streets.
“Phulpati is not just a religious event for the hill people. Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists took part in today’s (Tuesday) shovayatra,” said Suraj Sharma, a member of the organising committee. (The Telegraph)
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The hills kicked off the Dashain (Dusshera) festivities with a “Phulpati shovayatra” amid fervour that was missing last year because of the 104-day statehood strike.

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