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Mankhim, the temple of the Rai, one of Nepal's most ancient ethnolinguistic groups, is located at Aritar, Sikkim. Here the Rai community assembles twice every year for the celebration of Sakew, a day fixed for worship (usually falling in the months of April or May). In the Nepali language this worship is called Ubhowli.
The Rai are worshippers of nature. When the wildlife begins moving to the high hills of the Himalayan ranges while the seeds sown in the fields by the tribes grow and bloom with flowers, the tribes perform Sakewa puja which includes dancing and singing. The dance is called Silli and mimics the movements of birds and animals during their migration. The performance of Sakewa puj is led by the Mangpa (the Rai priest) or by the head of an important family in his absence. Sakewa puja may last for a month in some villages if family members are scattered as are the Bihu of Assam. During Sakewa puja instruments such as the dhol (or dhela), the jyamta, the bow and arrow, the chindo, the yak tail, and the cock and hen are used.
After Sakewa Puja, the Rai community is banned from playing any musical instruments until after they have performed the harvest festival, udhowli, in August and September. At this time the birds and the animals return from the high hills to the low lands and puja silli is completed .
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