The biggest festival in streets of Kathmandu reflecting the culture and tradition of Newari people residing in Kathmandu. Traditionally known as festival of Newari community but lately it is celebrated among all the community of Kathmandu valley reflecting the respect and preservation of culture. The celebration consist of two events Indra Jatra and Kumari Jatra. Kumari being the living goddess of Kathmandu, she only comes out of her house known as Kumari Ghar in some major festivals or events and in the day of Indra Jatra is the day she taken out in a chariot . The Indra Jatra displays the sacred images, masked dance of devil and deity, in honor of deity Indra also known as king of heaven.
The eight day long festival begins with raising wooden pole at premises of Bashantapur Durbar Square at Hanuman Dhoka. This festival falls under beginning of September. The festival also marks beginning of autumn and rest of the festivals of Nepal comes after the Indra Jatra too.
Many locals prey to other deity with inscent sticks, Diyo (oil wicks used in place of candles by Nepalese) they move in groups with some traditional set of musical instruments. The sound those instruments sound lively and vibrant. Lot of people gather in premises of Hanuman Dhoka to catch the glimpse of Kumari, a little Newari girl representing Goddess Taleju. She is carried in chariot followed by other small chariot of Ganesh and Bhairav. The festival of Indra Jatra ends with lowering the wooden pole that was raised in Premises of Durbar Square.
According to some mythical stories, Indra the king of gods comes to Kathmandu from heaven in search of flower called Parijat, night flowering Jasmine (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) which was needed for his mother to perform some rituals. It is even written in some Hindu scripture that the Night flowering Jasmine is sacred and is not available in heaven. Later when the god comes to Kathmandu he finds the flower in farmer’s garden and as he is god, he starts to pluck the flower but was scolded by farmer and the farmer ties the god who was in form of human in the pole in premises of durbar square. By some means god mother knows and sends Indra’s elephant to get back Indra but there comes as Lakhey (Masked man) who was guarding the pole where Indra was held.
As a result we see some defending activity by Lakhey towards Pullikishi (Indra’s Elephant) in the Jatra too in modern day. Basically the Jatra represent culture and cuisine of Newari people which is exotic. We can also see the traditional alcoholic beverage flowing through mouth of Swet-Bhairab in premises of Hanuman Dhoka. The doors of Bhairab is only opened in auspicious day of Indra Jatra. Being part of chaos defending yourself and being part of beautiful chaos is something that one must at least experience in life time. If you are in Kathmandu in time of September then this could an amazing experience in you trip or some day tour in Kathmandu.