read 3 min

The Surma Saravor Jatra is a six day-long festival celebrated every even years of the Nepali calendar by the people of Darchula’s Ghajir and Chetti villages. This year, 10-16 August, photographer Kishor Maharjan following the bire, those men making the arduous pilgrimage in the footsteps of the goddess Surma Devi, from their villages to the Surma Sarovar lake in Bajhang.

COMING SOON: Kishor Maharjan’s short essay explaining the pilgrimage!

All photos by Kishor Maharjan

Balo bire disguised as women and walking towards Surma Sarovar Lake.


People from Chetti welcoming pilgrims with their traditional instrument, the dhako.


Preparing for the last day of the festival.


On the road.


The leeches are never far.


The difficult way back to Chetti village.


Pilgrims must live in the temple before going to Surma Sarovar.


A feast at Bire Odar for pilgrims returning from Surma Sarovar lake.


Festival delights at Ghajir.


Women dancing Cha:ha Cha:ha at Ghajir on the first day of the festival.


First-time and returning pilgrims exchanging garlands of bramha kamal.


Women from Ghajir waiting to be invited to enter Chetti village.


The gateway to the premises of the Surma Devi.


On the way to Surma Sarovar Lake.


At Surma Bhawani Temple.


Let’s climb, Cha:ha, cha:ha cha:ha!!!


Pilgrims walking up from Bire Odar.
Kishor Maharjan is a Kathmandu based photographer. His interest in music and design brought him to photography. In his works, he explores rural parts of the country and makes a documentary of stories that were otherwise unheard of. He uses photography as a medium to explore, question, document, travel, and to challenge himself.