Kathmandu, September 10
Indra Jatra, one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Kathmandu for eight days, formally began with the erection of a sacred Indradhoj lingo (wooden pole) at Hanumandhoka in Basantapur Darbar Square today. The lingo was erected at 9:17 am in front of the statue of Kaal Bhairav there.
The cultural event was attained by mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Bidhya Sundar Shakya and provincial lawmakers from Kathmandu. The wooden pole was axed down from a tree in Bhakatapur on September 1. Indra Jatra is celebrated by Newar community of Kathmandu and is called Yenya in local dialect. The festival is dedicated to Indra, the god of rain and the king of heaven. The festival marks special importance since the chariot procession of ‘living goddess Kumari’, is held along with chariots of lord Ganesh and lord Bhairav, around Basantapur area during the festival.
Legend has it that Lord Indra once secretly visited the ancient city of Kathmandu to steal parijat (a night flowering jasmine), but instead got captivated by a tantric. Mother of Indra then came down to earth to free her son, and promised to provide timely rainfall for the freedom of her son. From then onwards, locals of Kathmandu started celebrating the festival.
Attraction of the festival include dances like Lakhey dance and Pulu Kisi dance where participants perform by wearing masks of deities on street.
The heads of state also visit Hanuman Dhoka to pay their respects to the gods and goddesses during the festival. This year, KMC has invited 48 delegates from different countries to participate in the festival.
A version of this article appears in print on September 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.