Laxmi dyah and khyah

Painting showing Goddess Lakshmi and a pair of Khyahs (foreground).

Khyāh (Devanagari: ख्याः) (alternative spellings Khyā, Khyāk) (ख्याक) is a

Painting of a Khyah on a temple in Kathmandu.

mythical humanoid creature in Nepalese folklore. It is depicted as a fat, hairy and short ape-like creature.

Khyahs appear in children's stories popular in Newar society. A friendly Khyah fills the home with goodness while bad ones bring trouble. A white Khyah is believed to bring good luck while a black one can create problems. Encountering a Khyah can make one ill.

In Newar culture, Khyahs attend to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and pictures of the deity show them guarding overflowing bags of coins. Household Khyahs usually dwell in the attic and dark storerooms. They are said to fear electric lighting.

The antithesis of the Khyah is the Kawanchā, a skeleton. Khyahs and Kawanchas appear as supporting characters in sacred dance dramas of the Newars. Images of Khyahs and Kawanchas are also placed at temples as guardians of the shrine.

Khyah danceEdit

During the Yenya festival in Kathmandu, dance performances are held at market squares and the Durbar Square where actors dressed in Khyah costumes give dance performances. The dances, known as Khyāh Pyākhan (ख्याः प्याखं), consist of antics and tumbling.

Types of KhyahEdit

  • Bārāy Khyāh (बाराय् ख्याः) appears in rooms where girls are kept in seclusion during their rite of passage.
  • Bhakun Gwārā Khyāh (भकुं ग्वारा ख्याः), literally football, rolls on the ground to move around.
  • Dhāpalān Khyāh (धापलां ख्याः) is a very hairy Khyah.
  • Lanpan Khyāh (लँपं ख्याः) blocks people's way on dark streets.

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