Gunla Parva is the Tenth month of the Nepal Sambat as according to Lunar Calendar, which serves as the country’s official Lunar Calendar. According to the Gregorian Calendar, it corresponds to August. For Newar Buddhists, the month of Gunla is a holy time when they recite scriptures, maintain fasts, and travel to sites of worship while listening to devotional music. It is among the most significant occasions in Newar Buddhism. The custom of observing the holy month originated with the monks’ seclusion during the rainy season during the Buddha‘s lifetime, when they stayed put and imparted the Dharma. Every year, from Shrawan Shukla Pratipada to Bhadra Shukla Pratipada, the Buddhist Newar community celebrates the Gunla festival. This entire month is viewed as an opportunity to gather Dhamma (religion). To demonstrate their devotion to Lord Buddha and to ponder on him during this festival, Buddhists from all three sects—Hinayana, Mahayana, and Bajrayana—circumambulate Buddhist Stupas, Chaityas, and Monasteries.

History of the Gunla Parva
The Gunla Parva is specifically observed during this Gunla month among the Newa: community and in some other locations, such as Kathmandu Valley, where the Newa: population is predominate. In the Buddhist  family of the community, this event is celebrated in a more introspective and spiritual manner. During the wet season, when they preach divine discourse and knowledge, Lord Buddha and his followers do not travel. There is a custom to visit Lord Swayambhu early, particularly during the Newar community’s Gunla celebration.

Legend of Gunla

The Swayambhu Puran claims that Kathmandu’s Valley used to be a sizable lake. When the ascetic Bipassu (Vipass) Buddha once came, he dropped a lotus seed into the pond before departing. Swoyambhunath appeared as the Dharmadhatu Jyoti on top of the lotus flower when it bloomed. Maha Manjushree traveled to Swoyambhunath and the Dharmadhatu Jyoti that sprang from it as a pilgrim from Mahachin (current-day China)..When he came in Chobhar, he set up house with his two wives, Varada (Kesini) and Mokshada (Upakesini), on the right and left sides of the Chobhar hill. He then cut the gorge in the hill with his Khadga (a large, sharp sword), allowing the water from the lake to flow out. Manjushri founded Manjupattan once the water had subsided. On the hill where Jyotirup Swayambhu first appeared following the establishment of Manjupattan, the regular religious practice of dhamma was started. This kind of service was known as Chaitya Sewa. In accordance with legend, Swoyambhu Mahachaitya was constructed where Swoyambhu was enthroned as a light, and it was at this spot that Dhamma Guru Shantikaracharya, a Mahayana religious figure, gave the Chaitya ritual the name “Gunla Dhamma.”

When the Gunla festival is held at Bhaktapur City and other Buddhist temples, devotees bathe in the early morning, clean themselves with traditional instruments, recite hymns, and circumambulate the Bahal,Chiba,Bihar, Chaitya, and Gumba while chanting mantras. The musical groups represent the city’s numerous neighborhoods. The religious recite the Bible in their homes and in holy courtyards. Some people fast. Another devotional activity during Gunla is Dyah Thāyegu (द्यः थायेगु) when devotees make little Stupas out of black clay using a mold.

Nine instruments are typically played, especially during the Gunla festival. Nyakun Baja is the centerpiece of Gunla Parva. The horns of the Ranga (Buffalo) were used to make this instrument. The custom of commemorating the Gunla Time with numerous original Baja-Gaja(Percussion) has become more popular recently. As a result, playing the Dha: Baja, Flute Baja, Dhime Baja, Muhali, and Bhusya Baja as well as circulating the Chaitya and worshipping local Hindu deities too.

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