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Faith Healers (Shamans)

Shamans

In the hilly villages of Nepal, one often encounters the Shamans. Typically attired in white long robes (Jama) and small round bells (Ghangla) tie around their waist, and head bedecked with feathers, these Shamans, of Jhankris as they are called, are a unique facet of Nepalese rural life in the hills. The Shamans believe in animism and animal sacrifice. In Nepalese villages, they perform the work of healers and forecasters of the future. They participate in Hindu or Buddhist community festivals and celebrations, though they do not consider themselves to be devotees of either religion. They center on their own religious practices of territorial deities and life- cycle rituals.

They harbour beliefs in supernatural beings such as ghosts, spirits and demons. They play the Dhyangro, a type of handheld drum which is beaten with a special type of ring-shaped stick. They claim to have the supernatural power to drive away evil spirit tormenting people. They thus function as faith healers, driving away evil spirits and curing the sick. The faith healers say they are possessed by some supernatural force of the power Ban Devi, of forest Goddess. They also maintain having the ability to perform miracles. The Jhankris make a pilgrimage to Gosain Kunda on Janai Purnima day in the month of Agust.

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