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20th Rot Festival concludes in 'grand way'


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2023 May 15, 17:57, Kathmandu

The 20th Rot Festival organised by the Siddhashram Shakti Kendra (SSK) in the ancient cave of Guru Gorakhnath on the premises Gorkha Durbar of Gorkha concluded today.

The 11-day ritualistic festival welcomed a large number of visitors/devotees from different parts of the country including from India. The food and accommodation was managed by the organiser and it was free.

SSK founding member and coordinator Bindeswori Baral said, "The festival, one of the annual mega events for the organisation, was successful in a sense that it went well more than the expectations. We observed smooth team works, arrivals of a large scores of people as in the past, larger participations of devotees in the hawan and meditation sessions, high coordination from the locals and SSK members, no unwanted circumstances and the discipline on the part of visitors and so on."

The scenario during the festival seemed quite different from usual festivals. Participants representing diverse classes and communities were relatively quiet. One could listen Bhajans (singing of devotional songs) on the background while some participants were seen walking up to the Durbar that lies at an altitude of about 1,450 meters at Padelthok of Gorkha municipality-5, some were found meditating, some chanting mantras, a group was preparing rots, some were busy in preparing foods for visitors and some fetching and serving water for them on the premises of Durbar which is a fort, temple and a palace all in one.

 Madhav Basnet, 54, a resident of Bhaktapur, says, "I have been with the SSK since more than two decades and over the course of this time what I experienced is that the organization guided me to follow a path of spiritualism, to feel myself in-depth, to realize the possible strength of mine and taught me the values of discipline in human life, encouraging me to live with positive vibes."

The Nepal Rastra Bank retired officer was seen chanting on a japmala (rosary beads) beneath the Durbar believes that our materialist life would be easier and happier if we could take up a spiritual life simultaneously. I, as the SSK member, have been taking part in the Rot festival since the beginning and I feel much contented to be its part."

Ambika Koirala, 55, who travelled from Dhapasi, Kathmandu to Gorkha just to attend the festival said, "I came to know about the presence of SSK some 18 years back through its monthly publication Goraksha Nikhil Vani. When I went through the magazine, it promoted me to visit the Ashram. It feels good for me to take part in SSK activities including the Rot festival." Each year she would be awaiting for the arrival of the Rot festival as she, in her words, feels spiritually and mentally re-charged by attending it.

Nepal Army personnel Santosh Bhatta from the Sarduljung Company, who has been assigned the responsibility for the security of the Durbar for the past two months, said he was seeing a high flow of people's movement during the Rot festival compared to usual days. Though the Durbar management keeps no official record of people visiting the temple, he said over 10,000 people were visiting the shrine of Guru Gorakhnath and the temple of Kali here each day. This number was obviously much high during the opening day of the festival and in the final days of the event.

SSK founding member and coordinator Ramji Aryal said, "Passion, dedication, hard work, positivity and integrity are vital for advancing towards a success in any field either it is material and spiritual, and we hope to develop and cultivate these habits among our members through our activities and the Rot festival is one of such kinds.

Besides, mediation, mantra-chanting and yoga are major parts of the festival as the SSK largely believes these are essential for having a sound mental health which has been the urgency of the time."

About Rot

In the Naath Samparadaya (sect), Guru Gorkhanath is highly valued and it is believed that Rot is his favorite delicacy. SSK coordinator Baral said, "Mythically it is believed that offering one Rot is enough to make the Guru Gorakhnath happy and receive his blessings."

The Rot is prepared by mixing rice and wheat flour with sugar and verities of dry fruits: cardamom, pepper, coconut, cashew nuts, dates and so on with special rituals.

Rots are prepared in two ways: Bhungre Rot which is baked on the fire and Tawa Rot which is prepared by frying with ghee in a pan. The middle part of the rot is slightly bulged, reflecting the mythical significance of the Rot. The middle part that signifies the 'Earth symbol' is made by pressing two fingers while giving the dough the shape of Rot and it makes the Rot special. Rots are prepared in small sizes.

SSK Gorkha coordinator Kishor Kumar Akela said Rot is offered to the Gorakhnath Temple each day, but it has been celebrated as a grand festival since the 20 years on the initiation of the SSK.

Over 125 thousand Rots were offered to the Gorakhnath Temple during the festival. A team of 20-25 people was involved in preparing 20-25 thousands of rots each day throughout the festival.

Who can participate in the Rot Festival and contribution to local tourism

Anyone from any community, gender, class, community and religious stream are heartily welcomed to the festival as in the SSK other activities.

Local Sajana Yogi, 42, who runs an eatery on the Durbar premises, says the festival has contributed to boosting up local trade and tourism more or less. "When people's movement is up, it is obvious that trade activities go up and hotel business will increase. The festival has been a plus point for the business in the town. In addition to this, it has played a role in highlighting the 'historic aspects' of the area that served as the capital of Gorkha before the then King Prithvi Narayan Shah shifted it to Kathmandu in 1768."

READ ALSO:

Siddhashram Shakti Kendra Gorkha Durbar chanting mantras Bhaktapur Durbar management
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