Acharya

The festival of Mane Chokpa, held every spring in Timure for five days, is a riotous celebration of life and spirits.People from five villages, young and old, had gathered to witness the dance, song, prayers, and theatre that would carry on for five days. Men and women studying in Kathmandu had also returned to celebrate the festival. In the audience were migrant workers, and government officials transferred to Timure.
The first act in the Acharya dance were a horde of boys, naked save for a loincloth, wearing inflated condoms over their heads. They were duly blessed in the prayer room by the head Lama. Then the men followed, naked, intoxicated. They carried wooden phalluses and circled the altar late into the night, making sexually explicit gestures and comments.“The festival is to honor the death of a local Lama who once saved Timure buried under a huge landslide,” he’d said in the morning. “It’s a mixture of prayers to local gods and goddesses and entertainment.”It’s a dance unique to the area. To those outside of Timure, the revelry elicits bewilderment.More young people are interested, and the villagers are better behaved. Youth from Timure who study in Kathmandu make it a point to return to the village, and the villagers celebrate.  The festival is getting better over the years, according to the head Lama.

This project was co-produced with Gyanu Adhikari for The Record.