September 25: Indra Jatra, the festival of rain and good harvest, began Tuesday in Bhaktapur district.
The eight-day festival, having religious and cultural significance, is observed with much fanfare especially among the Newar communities in the Kathmandu Valley. It is also marked in districts such as Kavrepalanchowk and Dolakha.
The Indra Jatra, the main day of the festival, falls on the Bhadra Shukla Chathurdashi, the fourth day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar. September 28 is the main day of the festival this year.
It begins from Bhadra Shukla Dwadashi and on that day a towering wooden pole (lingo) signifying the Lord of Rain-Indra- is installed in every town of Bhaktapur city.
According to the tradition, erecting a lingo (a wooden pole) began at 10:37 am on Tuesday.
As part of the festival, the wooden pole is brought from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu and installed on the chariot at Hanumandhoka in Basatapur Durbar Square.
A number of ceremonies are organized during the eight-day festival including Lakhe naach and Pulu Kisi procession. The chariot procession, a major part of the festival, involves pulling of a big chariot of the living Goddess Kumari and two smaller chariots of Lord Ganesh and Lord Bhairab along the thoroughfares of the city. It will take place on September 27.
As per the tradition, the Head of State visits and worships the living Goddess Kumari, Ganesh and Bhairav during the festival.
Cultural expert and historian Prof Dr Purusottam Lochan Shrestha shared that although the Indra Jatra has been celebrated since Dwapar era (during the time of Mahabharata), King Jagat Prakash Malla of Bhaktapur in the 17th century collected Vedic scriptures and other holy texts such as the Puranas and imitated scenes based on the stories narrated in those scriptures and brought the culture and tradition of festivities. Historian Shrestha added that the festival is celebrated with the aim of maintain peace and order, fostering prosperity and to ward off natural calamities.
He shared that the locals believe that observing the festival will also prevent famine, epidemic, excessive rains and eradicate enmity among people.
Meanwhile, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), with the aim of promoting the dignity of Indra Jatra at the international level, has invited guests from various municipalities of foreign countries with which it has established sister relations.
The KMC shared in a press meet on Monday that as many as 22 guests from the USA and China will visit Nepal to partake in the celebration of Indra Jatra.
The festival will come to an end on October 2. -- RSS