Monday Sep 20, 2021
Monday Sep 20, 2021

Lakhe: The demon with protruding fangs and mane

While many are fascinated by Lakhes, there are others who fear them.


Nepalnews
2021 Sep 05, 12:08, Kathmandu
Pujari performing Lakhey pooja at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 2, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

 Nepal, a small country filled with different castes and communities.

And with it comes different traditions and festivals.

Indra Jatra is one of the biggest festivals in Kathmandu valley.

The festival is full of cultural and religious attractions, one of which is the Lakhe.

Lakhe is a demon who is worshipped for its divine power in the Newar community.


Pujari performing Lakhey pooja at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 2, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Pujari performing Lakhey pooja at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 2, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

As the aggressive faced demon with protruding fangs and a mane of hair dances around, many people are fascinated by it as much as they are afraid.

But Rajiv Ranjit explains how the fear in people mainly comes due to lack of knowledge.

“There are lots of rumors that Lakhes are violent and that they consume human meat”, says Ranjit, a member of the Majipa Lakhe performers. “These are all baseless rumors'', he adds.

“There are different kinds of Lakhe and each one has its own purpose. The one who is seen during Indrajatra is the Majipa Lakhe, also known as the Royal Lakhe.” explains Ranjit


Pujari lighting incense stick while performing Lakhey pooja at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 2, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Pujari lighting incense stick while performing Lakhey pooja at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 2, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

History says when Goddess Taleju Bhawani entered into Kantipuri Nagari, her bodyguard, the lakhey wasn’t allowed to enter as it was a demon who caused havoc and consumed raw meat and eggs. The lakhe was asked to promise not to destroy nor hurt others for food, which he agreed to.

However, the public was not convinced and they planned to test the lakhe by sending a small, smart kid to tease the lakhe while he is sleeping. When he woke up and saw the little child, he was furious and started chasing the boy. When he caught him, the lakhe let the boy go after a few hits. The people finally began to trust him and gave him the name ‘Peaceful Bhairav’.


Old lady bowed in front of Lakhey at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 3, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Old lady bowed in front of Lakhey at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 3, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

It is believed that Goddess Taleju Bhawani used to visit the then King of Kantipur, Jay Prakash Malla and played tripasa, a dice game together. However, one day the king passed some inappropriate comments towards the Goddess which made her furious and she left immediately.

Before she left, she told the king to look for her in the Shakya family if he sought forgiveness as she would be reincarnated there. King Jay Prakash Malla went out looking for the Goddess spirit in young girls. So, worshipping young kumari girls became a strong tradition in the Newari community since then.


Pujari performing Lakhey pooja at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 3, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Pujari performing Lakhey pooja at Basantapur, Kathmandu on September 3, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

The Majipa Lakhe, unlike other lakhes, comes out only during Indra Jatra. The lakhe walks and dances in front of Kumari’s chariot, protecting her from evil and negative energy that may be present along the way. It also helps clear the path for the chariot.

There is a misconception amongst people that only Ranjitkars have the opportunity to become a Lakhe. “Ranjitkars are the community who are simply responsible for the protection and management of the tradition”, says Ram Ranjit, a senior member of the Majipa Lakhe performers. “Infact, there are several examples in history of various castes and creeds, majority being Ranjitkars”, he adds.

Ram Ranjit became a Lakhe for the first time about 22-23 years ago. He describes his experience as something phenomenal. One experience he shall never forget while being a Lakhe is the time he performed at the royal palace in front of King Birendra and his family. “I have never experienced such a feeling in my life”, he reminisces.

Lakhey pooja being performed inside Lakhey ghar, Basantapur on September 2, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Lakhey pooja being performed inside Lakhey ghar, Basantapur on September 2, 2021. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

READ ALSO:

lakhe newari Indrajatra Kumari Kathmandu culture Festival

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