The Guide to Makar Mela

What is Makar Mela?

The Makar Mela is one of the most anticipated festivals in Panauti, Nepal. The month-long festival, celebrated once every 12 years, sees thousands of devotees flock from all over Nepal and India.

Trebenighat
Trebeni gaht at the conflunence of Punyanmati, Roshi and Rudrawati (the invisible river)

About Makar Mela

In the Makar Mela lore, believers hold the mythology that Lord Indra, the King of Heaven, suffered from an incurable disease. After 12 years of Meditation at the Triveni Ghat in Panauti to please Lord Shiva, Gokarnath himself came to the aid and mixed a nectar of the cure in Rudrawati. Indra’s bath in the river with the flowing nectar cured the disease.

How is it Celebrated

The Festival is exclusively celebrated in Panauti for a month at Triveni Ghat, on the confluence of Punyamati, Roshi and Rudrawati (the invisible river). Makar Mela starts when the sun enters into Makar rashi on the day of Makar Sankranti. This is the first day in the month of Magh, mid January – mid February, in the Bikram Sambat calendar. It is believed that taking a dip at the river cures skin diseases and purifies one’s sins. After taking a bath, the devotees hike up to the Gorakhnath hill to pay homage to Basuki Naag and Lord Shiva. The naag is said to be the protractor of Panauti.

Devotees going up to Gokarnanath hill from Tribeni ghat
Devotees going up to Gokarnanath hill from Tribeni ghat

Best way to Celebrate Makar Mela

Panauti is a small town that retains much of its charm and reflects a much more relaxed pace of life. With many heritage sites and lush green hills surrounding Panauti, there is a lot it has to offer travellers. One of the best ways to celebrate the festival and discover Panauti is to stay with locals. The Panauti community homestay offers a homely setting for travellers without having to relinquish all modern comforts. 

Living with the locals not only gives you an opportunity to observe the festival but also get hands-on experiences with different activities. The warm hospitality and mesmerizing interactions is sure to give you a memorable experience.  

Panauti as seen from the Gorakhnath hill
Panauti as seen from the Gorakhnath hill

How to get to Panauti

Panauti is around 34 kilometer from Kathmandu. You have to take the Araniko Highway from Kathmandu to Banepa. On reaching Banepa, the road to Panauti diverts right from the Tribhuvan Chowk. The Panauti road is about 7.5 km from Banepa and has been recently black topped. 

Alternatively, you can also take a local bus from Kathmandu to Panauti which takes about 2 hours depending on the traffic.

CommunityHomestay - Team

Community Homestay Network is a leading provider of authentic and immersive local travel experiences. We connect global travelers with real and authentic Nepal by letting them stay with the locals and experience a typical Nepali lifestyle. Our experiences are designed with the goal of leaving positive impact on the local communities and environment.

CommunityHomestay - Team

Community Homestay Network is a leading provider of authentic and immersive local travel experiences. We connect global travelers with real and authentic Nepal by letting them stay with the locals and experience a typical Nepali lifestyle. Our experiences are designed with the goal of leaving positive impact on the local communities and environment.