Bhaktapur, Sept 25: Indra Jatra, the festival of rain and good harvest, begins Tuesday in Bhaktapur district. The eight-day festivity, having religious and cultural significance, is observed with much fanfare especially amid 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) will take place on tomorrow morning at 10:37 am. As part of the festival, a lingo is brought from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu and installed on the chariot at Hanumandhoka at 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 Kumari and two smaller chariots of Ganesh and Bhairab along the thoroughfares of the city. It will take place on September 27.
The tradition has it that 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 that although the Indra Jatra has been celebrated since Dwapar era (during the time of Mahabharata), King Jagat Prakash Malla of Bhaktapur in 17th century collected Vedic scriptures and other holy texts such as Purana.
He later imitated scenes based on the stories narrated in those stories and brought the culture and tradition of festivities, said historian Shrestha, adding that the festival is celebrated with the aim of maintain peace and order, foster prosperity and prevent natural calamity.
Furthermore, he shared that it is also observed with the objective of preventing famine, epidemic, excessive rains and eradicating 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 in foreign countries with which sister relations have been established.
The KMC shared in a press meet today 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, with the lingo made to fall. RSS