Page:Picturesque Nepal.djvu/183

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striking characteristics of Nepalese art. But the fact that from the earliest days the buffalo has been regarded as the living representation of evil, has led to the principal feature of this festival being a colossal sacrifice of these animals wherever the believers in this aspect of Hinduism are gathered together.

The general programme of the "Durga Puja" as observed in Nepal consists in a review of the troops, a procession, and the ceremony of "blessing the colours." At least ten days are reserved for the whole function, and there are other supplementary items in the Dassera ritual, but these are the main events. The review is a very popular affair with the Gurkhas, as the martial spirit burns keenly within them, and upwards of ten thousand troops line up in a hollow square on the great maidan or parade ground on the outskirts of the city of Katmandu. The Prime Minister, the Commander-in-Chief, and all the officers of the State arrive mounted, and await the approach of the King, under the shade of a large and conspicuous tree in the centre of the field. His Majesty motors from