Ga Pyakha (Astamatrika Naacha)
Astamatrika Dance is also a ceremony that is ritually marked by a set of masks, which on this occasion, are worn and danced with
The Astamatrika Dance of Eight Mother Goddesses, tutelary deities of Hindus, performed by 13 male Buddhist dancers on nine nights during the Dashain festival.
The Dance was introduced by King Sri Nivash Malla (1627–1687 AD). Once he saw in his dream the congregation of Mother Goddesses dancing in his royal court Mul Chowk. He established the Astamatrika Dance and determined, it should be performed every year.
The King himself a scholar and tantric, composed the song of various deities also known as Charyagita. The Charya Dance and Charyagita are performed and sung simultaneously. The Charyagita has spiritual significance which can not be fully comprehended by uninitiated people. The musical instruments used in this dance are called “Ponga” and are supposed to be heavenly instruments.
The dance of Astamatrika is for the removal of obstacles in the city caused by unknown evil spirits, ghosts and great fears. Besides, a tantric practitioner worships the Astamatrika for the attainment of great Siddhis for well being, peace, prosperity of the country and the people.
The dancers get prepared by going to the temple of Vajrasattva and take Refuge on Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. They purify their body, speech and mind and must refrain from talking impure foods. The rituals should contain cereals and vegetarian items.
Astamatrika Dance is also a ceremony that is ritually marked by a set of masks, which on this occasion, are worn and danced with. These masks have a continual life tone or energy. They are focal points of the Astamatrika Dance ceremonies.