Visit Nepal during the starting of main touristic season (autumn) and experience the most vibrant festival of Indra Jatra. You would surely love to be around Kathmandu around the end of September month, witness the week long happening festival of Nepal and continue your further adventures treks or tours in Nepal. This festival of Indra Jatra is celebrated with full of joy, chariot procession and other beautiful cultural dances of deities and demons around the world heritage site of Kathmandu durbar square and nearby areas.
Indra Jatra is also called as a festival of Kathmandu. Hence it is also known as ‘Yena Jatra’ in local Newari language believed to be started since 10th century by Gunakam Dev. Every year, Indra Jatra festival initiates after erection of long pole derived from single tree trunk in front of Kaal bhairab at Hanuman Dhoka premises. This trunk is brought from forest at Kavre district, about 30 kms east from Kathmandu. On the first day of jatra, locals from Neway community visit numerous temples with lighting incense sticks in remembrance of their deceased ones.
In the similar way, the major highlights of this Indra Jatra festival always has been the chariot procession of living goddess Kumari, Ganesha and Bhairava along with white ‘eirawat’ elephant of Lord Indra called ‘Pulu kishi’ and street dance of red masked ‘Lakhey’. There are many other equally exciting masked dances performed representing as deities and demons. Then finally at the last day of Jatra, the Linga or pole is pulled down which declares the end of this festival.
Even though the world heritage sites of Kathmandu durbar square received huge infrastructural damages and collapsed temples, Indra Jatra was celebrated in a safe and sound manner with even more energy and passion. This festival brought the hearts together and helped to bring some smile in the face. Large number of people observed the festival and it was really great to see few international participants too. Therefore festival of Indra Jatra gave us the message that Nepal is rising and eagerly waiting to welcome more and more tourists this season with another greatest festival Dashain and Tihar on the corner.
Author: Sakesh Karanjit