KATHMANDU: Indra Jatra, known as Yenya in Nepal Bhasa, one of the biggest festivals celebrated by the denizens of Kathmandu Valley starts today.
In the morning, Ya-Sin (Indradhoj Linga), a ceremonial pole brought from Nala Ban of Suryabinayak, Bhaktapur and kept in Bhotahity for some days was erected in Hanuman Dhoka, Kathmandu. This event formally marks the beginning of the eight-day long festival of Yenya or Indra Jatra.
The festival is celebrated to honour Indra, King of Heaven and God of rain and harvest, as per the Hindu mythology.
During the festival, masked dances in the form of deities and demons are performed among which Majipā Lākhey is the most popular dance form. Similarly, Pulu Kisi (elephant) dance is also performed by the locals of Kilagal Tole who wear a white-coloured elephant structured costume covering their whole body and embody Lord Indra’s carrier, the white elephant.
Similarly, the main attraction of the festival is a chariot procession in which a chariot of Goddess Kumari and two smaller chariots of Ganesh and Bhairav are pulled along the main areas of Kathmandu.
The first day of the chariot procession (which falls on September 13 this year) of the Living Goddess Kumari is called Kwaneyā. Regarded as the main day of the festival, the chariots carrying Kumari, Ganesh and Bhairav are pulled through the southern part of the town. The heads of the state also visit Hanuman Dhoka to pay their respect to the gods and goddesses. Similarly, during this day, family members of the deceased who passed away in the last one year light small butter lamps along the processional route. In the night, after Kumari returns back from the procession, another procession of Dāgin beings.
The second day of the chariot procession is called Thaneyā while the third day is known as Nānichāyā.
The final day of the festival falls on September 17 this year. During this day, the Ya-Sin pole erected at Hanuman Dhoka is taken down in a ceremony known as Ya-Sin Kwathalegu.