Hindus and Buddhists, both communities come together to celebrate the festival of Indra Jatra. Indra Jatra is a delightful festival of classical dances. Numerous varieties of traditional dances can be observed on the occasion this festival. Name of the festival goes after Lord Indra who is the god of rain and also as the king of heaven according to Hindu mythology.
It is belived that many centuries ago, Indra (king of Heaven)’s mother needed specially scented flowers (Parijat). Indra looked for them but could not find them in heaven. Indra discovered Parijat flowers in the Kathmandu Valley and tried to steal them for his mother. He was caught and imprisoned by people in the Valley. Indra’s mother came searching for him and people were shocked to know what they had done. They released Indra and dedicated one of the most colourful festivals of Nepal to him to calm down his anger. This festival lasts for eight days with singing, mask dancing and jubilation. Various masked dances like Pulu Kishi(elephant dance ), Lakhe, Sawa Bhakhu and Mahakali dances are performed at various places. Indra is thanked for the rains and assured once again that he is respected in the Kathmandu Valley.
A long wooden pole is placed in front of the Royal Palace at Hanuman Dhoka, in order to propitiate Lord Indra. Classical dancers also gather at the spot, wearing different kinds of traditional attires. They dance around the courtyard of Hanuman Dhoka to celebrate God Indra’s arrival.
On the third day of the festival of Indra Jatra, the living goddess Kumari ventures out in a chariot in the procession. Kumari is said to be an incarnation of the goddess Taleju. Chariots of Kumari, Ganesha and Bhairav move around the city for three days. According to Hindu faith Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is believed has the head of an elephant. Bhairav is one of the forms of Lord Shiva.
The Head of the State i.e. the President along with other government officials also pays homage to the Kumari during this period. Intriguing dances are staged in Kathmandu Durbar Square, in the neighborhood of the Kumari Temple. ‘Dasha Avataras’ are also enacted by the artists. The ‘Dasha Avataras’ refer to the ten incarnations of Hindu Lord Vishnu who is one of the Hindus’ Holy trinity, the supreme powers.
Swet Vairab in Basantapur Durbar Square Area
Crowds observing Akash Vairab at Indrachowk
Akash Vairab at Indrachowk
Women selling 'Diyo's in front of Akash Vairab
Burning Diyo at Indrachowk Area
Crowd near Makhan galli
The local Saari Market at Makhan Galli
The Garment Shop at Makhan Galli
The Kaal Vairab at Basantapur Durbar Square
Taleju during Dusk
Beautiful Artwork done in Watermelon
Apple Tranformed into a bird
Youths enjoying Pulu Kishi dance
Traditional Mask Dance
Jhyalincha annoying Lakhe as a part of tradition
The chariot of Ganesh
The Incarnation of Ganesh
The Incarnation of Vairab
The chariot of Kumari
Kumari, the Living Goddess
Traditional Panche Baja