Compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 10 August 2018


Time uploaded in London – 7-11 AM (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5306


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The festival of Gathemangal is celebrated in the memory of mythical demon Ghantakarna’s death. (Photos: AP)

Nepalese woman gather and prepare the material to make an effigy of demon Ghantakarna symbolizing demolition of evil during the Ghantakarna festival in Bhaktapur. According to the legend, a demon named Ghantakarna terrorized the villagers by stealing the children and women of the village. He used to demand money and other gifts from the villagers. His body was painted in red, blue and black and he wore a pair of bells on his ears. He looked very scary and every time he moved, the bells jingled. He got his name from the bells on his ears, i.e. Ghanta meaning ‘bell’ and Karna meaning ‘ears’.


Nepalese people gather to watch burning of effigy of demon Ghantakarna symbolizing demolition of evil during the Ghantakarna festival.


Nepalese people prepare an effigy of demon Ghantakarna prior to burning it symbolizing demolition of evil. According to legend, one day, a large number of frogs came to the village and began to croak near Ghantakarna’s place. He became furious but the frogs did not stop. They croaked even louder and when he tried to catch them, they jumped into the water. He, too, jumped into the water without realizing that it was a swamp and soon started to drown. The frogs swarmed around his head and he drowned to death. In this way, the frogs saved the village and the villagers from the demon.

Nepalese people burn an effigy of demon Ghantakarna symbolizing demolition of evil. The festival of Gathemangal or Ghantakarna Chaturdasi, like most of the Nepali festivals, is an example of the victory of good over evil.




Gantakarna ( Bell Eared Karna)

The story of Gantakarna is very interesting. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

says, “Be not a bigot like Gantakarna”.

Gantakarna worshipped Shiva, but hated all other deities. Siva appeared

before him and expressed his displeasure. He advised him to treat all gods with

respect. But he wouldn’t change. Just to teach him that God is one, Siva

appeared again, but in the form of Hari Haran (Half Vishnu+ Half Siva). It made

him worse. He showed to ‘Arti ‘ etc to Siva side only. He blocked the nostrils of

Vishnu so that the incense fragrance would not reach him. Siva warned him

that he would suffer for his bigotry. Ghantakarna was least bothered about

Shiva’s warning. He retired to a village. Knowing his attitude, children of the

village deliberately uttered Vishnu’s name in front of him. Vexed at this,

Ghantakarna hung two bells (Ghanta) on his ears (Karna). When the boys cried

out “Vishnu, Vishnu”, he would ring the bells so that he would not hear them.

He spent his entire life by ringing the bells!