Colourful aspects of Indra Jatra

KATHMANDU: Indra Jatra is one of the main festivals celebrated in Kathmandu named after the Indra — the God of Rain and King of Heaven. The festival officially began this year on September 25 after the lingo (wooden pole) brought from Sallaghari in Nala, Kavre was erected on the Hanuman Dhoka premises. It ended on October 1 after the lingo was brought down at night.

Many legendary stories are associated with the Indra Jatra and the celebration comprises many lively traditional dances.

What happens at the festival

Three people dressed in the form of deities tour around the Kathmandu Durbar Square during the celebrations of Indra Jatra. They dance and are worshipped at various places. These three deities are sab bhaku — Chandi, Kumar and Halchowk’s Aakash Bhairav.

“Prithvi Narayan Shah became unconscious while he was battling in Kathmandu and Aakash Bhairav helped him by carrying him to Gorkha. To recognise this deed of Bhairav, people from Putuwar (a Newar caste) dress up as Bhairav, Chandi, and Kumar and dance. The city dwellers invite them in their locality and worship them. It is believed that where these deities dance the place becomes diseases and evils free. But if someone crosses their path it is a bad omen. People who dress up and dance in the form of deities must be unmarried as they are believed to be pure,” informed Surendra Shrestha, Coordinator of Management Committee, Indra Jatra.