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Tradition of tongue-piercing

My Republica 2019-04-12 05:30:00

Buddha Krishna Baag Shrestha pierces his tongue every year on the jatra held annually at Khasi Tole, Bodey, Bhaktapur. Shrestha first pierced his tongue in 2005. However, it was in 2008 when he started doing it on a yearly basis.

According to Shrestha, he has been piercing his tongue to preserve the tradition. “Anyone who is living in Bodey can pierce their tongue. However, the new generation only cares about themselves, let alone the feeling of preservation. I practice this tradition but I’m not sure who will protect this ritual after me,” Shrestha lamented.

The jatra is marked on the day after the Nepalese New Year (Bikram Sambat). Earlier, there was no proper funding. Thankfully, the municipality also cares now. Madhyapur Thimi Municipality provides a budget of one hundred thousand rupees every year for this festival.

Piercing the tongue is also not an easy task. On one hand, the tongue bears new holes and on the other, one needs to avoid food. Shrestha doesn’t eat for two days before the jatra. “I only drink water then. If barred from eating food, a human tongue doesn’t sense any taste. And hence, the piercing gets pain-free.”