Kathmandu: Indra Jatra, one of the popular festivals celebrated inside Kathmandu valley for eight days, has formally kicked off from today with an erection of a sacred Indradhoj Linga (wooden pole) at Hanumandhoke in Basantapur Darbar Square in front of the statue of Kaal Bhairav on Friday, September 21, 2018.
This cultural event has been attained by the mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Bidhya Sundar Shakya and other provincial lawmakers from Kathmandu. On this auspicious occasion, the president of the country usually witnesses the chariot journey of the living Goddesse Kumari, Sri Ganesh, Sri Bharaiv.
The wooden pole was brought from the forest of Nala in Bhaktapur. Indra Jatra is the festival dedicated to Indra, the god of rain and the king of heaven. It is mostly celebrated by the Newar community and is called Yenya in the local dialect.
During Indra Jatra, the chariot procession of Kumari ‘Living goddess’ along with chariots of lord Ganesh and lord Bhairav is held around the Basantapur area. Along with chariot procession, various dances such as Lakhe dance, Pulukishi dance, Kathi Maka dance, etc are also the main attractions.
Legend has it that once Lord Indra’s mother ‘Dakini’ needed Parijat for religious rituals and Indra came down in Kathmandu to steal Parijat but was captured by villagers. Lord Indra’s mother was worried as her son didn’t arrive home for a long time. Then she came down to earth to free her son and promised to provide timely rainfall and take their deceased family members to heaven for the freedom of her son. They also added the condition that every year Lord Indra has to come to the earth at the same time and he will be displayed as a prisoner for seven days. From then onwards festival of Indra Jatra started to be celebrated.
This year, the Kathmandu metropolitan area has invited 48 delegates from different countries to participate in the festival. The heads of various states also visit Hanuman Dhoka to pay their respect to the gods and goddesses during the festival.
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