250 years of Indrajatra

I don’t know but I have always been very excited when the days of Indrajatra nears. I remember those days when I used to observe this jatra, roam the city, watch dances at Hanuman Dhoka, follow the chariot, play with my brothers, among others. So Indrajatra is more than just another jatra. It is a connection to my feelings, my emotions and my childhood days.

Indrajatra, a local festival of Kathmandu Valley, is observed in Bhadra (September/October). It started from the time of Jaya Prakash Malla, some two centuries ago. According to legend, it is said that once the mother of lord Indra sent him to earth to find a special flower. He came to the earth and when he was trying to pick the flower, he was caught and tied by Jyapus (local Newars). This is how the jatra began.

Devoted to lord Indra, the king of heaven, this festival begins with the putting up of the sacred wooden pole or lingo at Hanuman Dhoka. For three days, the chariot of the Living Goddess Kumari goes through different parts of old areas of the Valley followed by the chariots of Ganesh and Bhairav.

The main feature of this festival in Kathmandu are dances of deities like the Lakhe dance, the Pulunkishi dance, display of gigantic masks of Bhairav and the procession of Kumari along with Ganesh and Bhairav.

This festival ends with the bringing down of the lingo.

This year this Indrajatra is celebrating its 250th anniversary. So let’s celebrate this colourful jatra and make it a remarkable one.