Nepal // The Kathmandu Valley //

The Kathmandu Valley’s major festivals


Some of the festivals listed in Kathmandu are also celebrated in the valley. Most are reckoned by the lunar calendar, so check locally for exact dates.

Magh (Jan–Feb)

Magh Sankranti The first day of Magh (Jan 14 or 15), marked by ritual bathing at Patan’s Sankhamul Ghat and at Sankhu.

Phaagun (Feb–March)

Losar Tibetan New Year, the new moon of February, celebrated at Boudha with processions, horn-blowing and tsampa-throwing on the big third day.
Shiva Raatri On the full moon of Phaagun, the Pashupatinath mela (fair) attracts tens of thousands of ganja-smoking pilgrims and holy men, while children everywhere collect money for bonfires on “Shiva’s Night”.

Chait (March–April)

Balaju Jaatra Ritual bathing at the Balaju Water Garden on the day of the full moon.

Baisaakh (April–May)

Bisket Bhaktapur’s celebration of Nepali New Year (April 13 or 14). Thimi and Bode have their own idiosyncratic festivities.
Buddha Jayanti The anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, celebrated at Boudha.

Asaar (June–July)

Dalai Lama’s Birthday Observed informally at Boudha (July 6).

Saaun (July–Aug)

Janai Purnima The annual changing of the sacred thread worn by high-caste Hindu men, involving bathing and splashing at Patan’s Kumbeshwar Mahadev on the day of the full moon.

Bhadau (Aug–Sept)

Krishna Jayanti Krishna’s birthday, marked by an all-night vigil at Patan’s Krishna Mandir on the seventh day after the full moon.
Gokarna Aunsi Nepali “Father’s Day”, observed at Gokarneswar with bathing and offerings on the day of the new moon.
Tij A day of ritual bathing for women on the third day after the new moon, mainly at Pashupatinath.

Kaattik (Oct–Nov)

Haribondhini Ekadashi Bathing and puja on the eleventh day after the new moon. The main action takes place at the Vishnu sites of Budhanilkantha, Sesh Narayan, Bishanku Narayan and Changu Narayan.

Mangsir (Nov–Dec)

Indrayani Jaatra Deities are paraded through Kirtipur on palanquins on the day of the new moon.
Bala Chaturdashi All-night vigil at Pashupatinath on the night of the new moon, involving candles and ritual seed-offerings to dead relatives.

Read More

Explore Nepal



Travel Offers

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.