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Tourism News & Highlights

Festivals of Indra Jatra and Kumari, The Living Goddess in Kathmandu in September

Indra Jatra is one of the most joyful and happening festivals of Kathmandu. It is a week-long festival worshipping living goddess Kumari of Kathmandu valley and Indra, king of all the gods in heaven. A large wooden pole is erected to symbolize the beginning of the Indra Jatra. The chariot of Kumari is pulled out through the old skirts of traditional Kathmandu. The elephant dance, the demon Lakhe dance and the Akash Bhairav sky dance are regularly demonstrated open in public throughout the festival. In the evening, lamps are lit in the name of the King god Indra. The homemade rice beer is distributed in public by the God keepers on the three days of chariot pulling. Every night at the courtyard of the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, the group mask dance re - enacting the mother goddesses is performed in public. On the last day of the celebration, the tall wooden pole is pulled down to the ground and towed to the riverside to set in the fire hence marking the end of the festival. (Fishtail.org.com)

President Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday observed the chariot procession of Lord Ganesh, Bhairav and the living goddess Kumari on the occasion of the ongoing Indra Jatra at Basantapur Durbar square. Various other prominent personalities, including Vice-President Parmananda Jha, Chairman of the Interim Election government Khil Raj Regmi, Cabinet ministers, head of constitutional bodies and diplomats, also observed the procession.

The chariot procession, which begins on the third day of the festival, is the major attraction of Indra Jatra, which is celebrated for eight days to worship Lord Indra, Lord Bhairav and the living goddess.

On the first day of procession, the chariot is pulled through a route starting from Basantapur to Jaisedewal, Lagan, Bramha Tole, Bhimsen Than and back to Basantapur. The locals worship the sacred chariot containing statues of various avatars of Bhairav, Indra and Kumari.

Thousands of devotees throng the Basantapur and surrounding areas covering the route of the procession. Over 1,000 security personnel from Nepal Police were deployed during the celebrations.

On Thursday, the chariot will be pulled along Basantapur, Ittkha, Naradevi, Tengal, Baangemuda, Ason, Indrachowk and back to Basantapur. The procession on the second day of chariot pulling is followed by a two-day break.

After that, on the eighth day of the festival, the chariot is taken to Mahankal from Basantapur and back to Hanumandhoka for concluding rituals.

Observed every year on the eve of the Dashain festival, the Indra Jatra festival is believed to have been initiated by then King Jaya Prakash Malla.

Legends say Lord Indra’s mother Dakini was in need of ‘parijat’, a flower, to cure her ailments. Indra, thus, descended to the earth to look for the flower and found it in Kathmandu.

Suspecting him to be a thief, the locals caught Lord Indra while plucking the flower and imprisoned him. Later, his mother Dakini herself had to come down to Kathmandu and rescue her son, producing evidence to prove to the locals that the one charged of stealing was Lord Indra. Remorseful at their deed, the locals thereafter started celebrating Indra Jatra.

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