Nepal is a country known for its majestic beauty and the cultural tradition like no other in the world. Gifted with the highest peaks in the world Nepal has numerous festivals and ceremonies. Many unique festivals that are nowhere to be found in the world are celebrated in here. The land of the beautiful mountain ranges is also the land of the festivals. Among the Nepalese people, the local residents of Kathmandu Valley also the capital of Nepal inhabit many such unique festivals. Indra Jatra among them is a very famous and a unique festival celebrated here. The Indra Jatra is dedicated to the Lord of the Rain and the king of the Heaven, Indra. The festival has been celebrated since the Malla dynasty and the people are still very enthusiastic about it.
Indra Jatra is celebrated according to the lunar calendar dates so the dates are changeable. It generally falls in the month of September indicating the end of the monsoon. In the year 2016 the festival falls on the 30th of September. As the history goes, the god Indra disguised himself as a farmer and descended here as per his mother’s demand for the flower Night Jasmine. Upon plucking the flower the people convicted him for theft and captured him to be displayed among the crowd. His mother, waiting for the arrival of her son got worried and descended in the valley in search of her son Indra. After her arrival the people were convinced that the man was no other but the rain god himself. Soon the lord Indra was released and as for the appreciation the people were blessed with abundance of rain for rich crop. The festival is a representation for the incident which is celebrated for eight days with singing, dancing and rejoicing.
The festival starts with a street carnival with the dancing of the people representing as the demons and the elephant of Indra. An elongated ceremonial pole also known as “linga” is stretched as the beginning of this auspicious festival. The performers masked as the demons known as “Lakhey” and the Indra’s elephant known as “Pulu kisi” roam around the streets performing the dances and rejoicing it. The other major attraction of the festival is the living goddess “Kumari”, the only living goddess in the world as per the beliefs of the people. In Nepal the goddess “kumari” is regarded as a holy god with divine and mystical powers. The chariot of Kumari is taken through the main streets of Kathmandu to observe the performance and to appreciate the rain god Indra. The crowds enthusiastically observe and celebrate as the chariot of the Kumari is pulled around the streets with the masked men performing and dancing as demon and deities. The Kumari Jatra and Indra Jatra coincide and has been part of the culture for ages. The festival continues with the chariot pulled around in the major streets in the area with the musical instruments and the dance by masked men. The crowds enthusiastically join the performance and observe it which is the major attraction of this festival.
At the end of the festival the ceremonial Pole stretched in the first day is taken down. Indra Jatra festival is also an indicator as the arrival of the biggest festival in Nepal “Dashain” and the end of the rainy days. Along with the arrival of the festival seasons the best time to visit Nepal also arrives. The festive seasons are great time to be in Nepal as it is a great occasion to witness the true culture and tradition of Nepal. Besides the tours it is also a great time to be in Nepal for the Trekking as the skies clear up and the mountains have the greatest sensibilities of the year.