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INDRA JATRA Festival Tour Nepal 2016

Indra Jatra

Indra Jatra and the living Goddess Kumari

This festival falls on the fourteenth day of the bright moon fortnight of September but it starts on the twelfth day of the bright fortnight; then all together it lasts for eight day. The main day of the festival is believed to be the fourteenth day of the fortnight. On the twelfth day of the September bright fortnight a thirty-two feet's long pole is erected at the Hanuman Dhoka palace in Basantapur. This pole has been brought always traditionally from the forest of Bhaktapur. After adjusting the long pole Lord Indra's idol is worshipped. The lord's idol keeps tying around by the threads. There's an interesting anecdote regarding to this tying Indra.

Once Lord Indra's mother was on her religious worshipping program and she was in need of a flower called Parijat. His mother then sent him to search the flower; then lord Indra went in search of that flower; and finally he saw that flower there in the garden of Hanuman Dhoka. He then thought of stealing the flower; and went to steal the flower. Suddenly a soothsayer Baidhya saw him and captivated him there and he was released only after eight day when his mother came there to request the soothsayer. So this festival lasts for eight days. The lord's idol is kept at the certain Guthiyar's house and it is brought only once in a year when the festival starts. The fair starts only when lord Indra is worshipped there highly in a traditional manner. Many people crowd there to look the starting day of the festival. Since that day the Hanuman Dhoka palace looks very unusual; until the ending of the fete different kinds of mask dances from different parts of the valley are demonstrated.
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On the fourteenth day of the bright fortnight of the festival which is called the main day of the festival; Kumari the Living Goddess's chariot is rounded around the main through fares of the city. Also two bachelor small boys from Shakya Newari cast are kept each on the separate chariot as a feature of God Bhairab and Ganesh; then they are also rounded along with the Kumari's chariot. The chariot procession starts only when His Majesty the King worships there by offering some monetary donation (Dakchhina) and takes the prasad (oblation) from there. The chariots are rounded altogether two days and ends on the second day. Many kinds of traditional mask dances are shown along with the Kumari Jatra viz. Halchowk's Aakash Bhirab dance; Bhaktapur's Mahakali dances; Kilagal's Pulukishi dances are the famous ones. The Royal Sword (Khadga) also is shown along with the Jatra and the Army Band also parades together along with the chariot; the typical Nepali traditional band "The Panchai Baja" also walks in the chariot voyage playing the music. The main through fares of the voyage are Lagantole, Bhimsensthan, Marutole, Chikamangol, Jaishideval, Jyabahal, Bramatole, Kilagal, Bhotahiti, Asan, Indra Chowk etc places. On the second day night, the Dangi procession is carried out which is believed to be the mother of lord Indra. Along with the Dangi the devotees scatter Sadbij (miscellaneous items of a few cereals) in the name of their deceased antecedents. This is also called to go to see the dead soul's path traveling towards the heaven.

On the eight day, the last day, of the fete the long pole is lain down and the three chariot compulsorily should travel via Kilagal because a long time back when there were many kings in the valley; a king's queen wished to see the Nanichaya's Jatra means the Kumari's fair; so it's believed that since that time, the voyage uses to travel via there compulsorily because the queen used to stay in Kilagal. On this day too His Majesty the King Come to take the Tika from these living deities in Hanuman Dhoka. The fourteenth day of the festival; when the three deities' chariots are started to pull; His Majesty the King also come to grace this festival called Indra Jatra;. Foreign diplomats, high-ranking Officials are also invited to observe this fair on that day in Hanuman Dhoka. It's believed that the last Malla King Gunakama Dev initiated the practice of this fair about 245 years before in the time of his regime.

Kumari: The Living Goddess

Indra Jatra Festival ToursKumari is regarded as the Living Goddess of Nepal since an ancient time. There are some interesting procedures on the selection of this Goddess.

According to the stories received there by the local people, some small female kids used to be kept to see the slaughtering action of the he-buffaloes on the Dashain festival's Maha asthami day. The bloodshed slaughtering activity looks very terrible and it's forceful to the kids. So among the kids who were not frightened on looking the scene; they would be chosen to be the Living Goddess.

But the knowledgeable elders say that this process is not on function these days. The Royal Prophets from the Narayanhiti Royal palace itself collect the Newari Shakya community's children and choose the Kumari by calculating their astronomical zodiacs. The male Living Gods Ganesh and Bhairab are also selected by them in the same manner from the same Shakya clan.

The moment, the Kumari gets menstruation then she is not allowed to stay at the Kumari house becoming as a Living Goddess; another Kumari should be replaced there. Another Kumari is replaced there on the Maha Asthami day of the Bada Dashain festival. After the selection of the Goddess she gets her lodging and fooding there itself at the Kumari house which His Majesty's Government provides all the arrangements for her. Since then she is not allowed to travel out except the periphery of the house but her education are arranged there, attending some teachers from out side. Even after her retirement she gets NRS 3000.00 monthly as life long allowances. The selected Living Gods Ganesh and Bhairb also get NRS 4000 monthly during the Living God's tenure; but they should live at their own house itself. After the retirement, they get only NRS 1500 life long allowances. This Kumari house and the arrangements were made by King Jaya Prakash Malla in1814 B.S. in the valley.

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