There was an air of festivity as you entered the Basantapur Durbar Square. Swarms of people had gathered outside the Kumari Temple to witness the Gai Jatra.

Cute children dressed as cows, priests and various gods and goddesses walked by in long processions. Either modern or traditional bajas (instruments) played in front of each procession, while the sharp sounds of traditional cymbals were most dominant among them all. People also sang. There were volunteers providing drinking water and cleaning up the place. “It’s was quite good,” remarked Abhishek Raj Kanju, who was dressed up as a cow.

March for identity

“This time we will be walking for the souls of two of our friends who died in the last one year,” explained drop-in supervisor, Blue Diamond Society, Umesh Shrestha prior to their procession.

While the scheduled time was 11:30 am, the procession comprising around 100 gays, lesbians and their sympathisers, commenced only at 1:00 pm. The participants — cross-dressed, wearing masks and with painted faces — held aloft

placards and banners asking all to acknowledge their identity for an inclusive Nepal.