Nepal is host to some beautiful and exciting festivals during the holiday periods. In particular the festival of Indra Jatra is one not to be missed.
There are many beautiful and colourful festivals in Nepal throughout the year. The Nepalese invest a great deal of time into festivals and the festivals typically become significant times of celebration for both friends and family.
Indra Jatra is an extremely important festival for Bhuddists in Nepal and it is celebrated in September. This festival has a number of key elements; one is to celebrate Indra and his mother Dagini, the second element is to pay homage to those who have died in the last year and the third key element is to mark the end of the monsoon period and the transition into more comfortable weather.
Indra Jatra is believed to have been the ancient god of rain. The basis of this festival is based on a story told in Nepal regarding Indra Jatra’s capture as a child when he was out picking a particular flower for his mother who wanted the flower to use in the celebration of another festival. Unfortunately, during the act of picking the flower, Indra Jatra was caught, accused of stealing the flower and imprisoned. It was thereby necessary for his mother to petition Indra Jatra’s captors for his release. The story told in Nepal tells that the captors were very happy to release Indra Jatra once his mother had revealed his identity as the ancient god of rain. As a gesture of gratitude for Indra Jatra’s release, Dagini committed to water the crops every day for the next few months. She also committed to take anybody who had died during the past year to heaven.
During this festival a pole is set up outside the Hanuman Dhoka palace and depictions of Indra as a captive are set up and displayed nearby. In tandem, sacrifices are made and the face of White Bhairab is revealed. The face of White Bhairab remains visible for the remainder of the festival. At the end of the festival the pole referred to above is taken down and transported to a nearby river where it is subsequently washed. the festal is certainly worthwhile attending if you have the opportunity whilst you are in Nepal. You cannot help by be impressed by the beautiful use of colour and the energy in Nepal as its citizens celebrate this festival.
As with any festival, it is important that you pay heed to the huge increase in traffic local to the celebrations.