Handigaon is the oldest inhabited settlement in the Kathmandu Valley. “Handi” means a fired pot, and “gaon” means a village. The village was originally a village of potters before the larger urban city enclosed it into its modern embrace.
Jyapu are a farming caste from the Newar community, and the traditional inhabitants of Handigaon. Handigaon is famed for its Jatras, or festivals—there were thirty-six recorded ones at last count. A proverb which says: “Kahi nabhaeko jatra Handigaonma” means “A festival which doesn’t exist anywhere else, exists in Handigaon.” One can still hear the sweet sounds of music from the musicians during various ritual days and events. A rath, or chariot, is still dragged from Handigaon to the Gahana Khojnay Pokhari, or Treasure-Seeking Pond, every April. Myth recounts how a princess used to go and worship a temple in the middle of the pond by stepping on lotus leaves. But one day, one of the leaves tipped, and she fell and drowned into the pond. The search every year is for her lost jewelry.
The author was born and grew up in Handigaon. Her family, Brahmin astrologers who lived in the middle of the inner city of Kathmandu, moved to Handigaon about 100 years ago. There she grew up in a large house and family with walnut, guava, plum, pomelo, citrus and other fruit trees. The house was surrounded by fields of rice till twenty years ago. There were two natural ponds filled with lotuses, as well as thirteen wells made of wood, before this old house. Her grandfather tended a miniature Persian garden in the front of the old Nepali home. After her grandparents passed away, the four sons subdivided the land. Now those ponds, wells, and fields are all gone, and the area is filled with concrete suburban walled compounds. However, the writer’s mother still plants corn, squash and tomatoes in the smaller garden. And they have, in the garden an avocado tree, three jackarandas, and one pomelo tree still left standing.
ジャプはネワール社会の農民カーストで、ハンディガオンの昔からの住人です。ハンディガオンはジャトラ(祭り)で有名で、全部で36の祭りがあるとされています。ことわざに「カヒ ナバエコ ジャトラ ハンディガオンマ」というものがありますが、意味は「どこにもない祭りがハンディガオンにはある」というもの。今でも様々な儀式や行事のときに、楽士たちが奏でるここちよい音楽を耳にすることができます。毎年四月にはハンディガオンからガハナ・コジュネ・ポカリ(宝探しの池)まで、荷馬車が引かれます。神話では、姫がどのようにしてハスの葉をつたっていって、池の真ん中にある寺を参拝したのかが物語られています。その話ではある日、葉の一枚が傾いて、姫は池に落ちて溺れてしまいます。毎年の宝探しは、その姫の宝石を見つけるためなのです。
About the village