Week-long Indra Jatra festival begins in Nepal

Hundreds of devotees stood above structures to witness the formal beginning of the Indra Jatra.
Indra Jatra festival
Indra Jatra festivalANI

KATHMANDU: The festival of Indra Jatra formally started in Nepal on Wednesday with the erection of ya: Shi, a sacred pole symbolising Lord Indra, in the main square of the shrine.

ya:Shi is called 'Indradhwojotthan' and signals the start of the festive season in Nepal. The week-long festival is dedicated to Lord Indra, the God of Rain.

Hundreds of devotees stood above structures to witness the formal beginning of the Indra Jatra.

"This Ya:Shi erected on the Basantapur Durbar Square started from the regime of the then King Pratap Singh Shah. The older pole, which was erected during his regime has been used to construct at Arko Narayan as the main pole of the structure. With the erection of Ya: Shi, the Indra Jatra formally commences in Nepal," Rajan Maharjan, a resident of Kathmandu told ANI.

One of the biggest festivals of Newar community, Indra Jatra is dedicated to the God of Rain and king of heaven Lord Indra. It begins on the Bhadra Shukla Chaturdashi as per the Nepali calendar and lasts for a week. According to legend the Indra Jatra festival is observed to celebrate the victory of the gods over the demons.

It is believed that Lord Indra came to the Earth to collect white flowers for his mother but was caught by the locals (Newars) of the Kathmandu Valley, who kept him bound. After Lord Indra's mother came and disclosed his identity a procession took place which is continued till now.

Indra, the God of Rain, is worshipped in this festival primarily celebrated by the Newar community following both Hinduism and Buddhism. Lord Indra came to earth in disguised form to get night-flowering jasmine for the treatment of his mother.

He plucked the flowers without taking permission from locals here because of which he was captured and his mother came to Earth in his search as he didn't return for a week. She found Lord Indra tied on the upper storied of Kasthamandap, he (Indra) then took his real god form and since then the jatrais are believed to have started.

Apart from the Kathmandu Valley, Kavre and the Dolakha District of the country also celebrate this festival with fervour. The chariot processions of Shree Kumari, Shree Ganesh and Shree Bhairav is the major part of the festival. MajipaLakhey, Pulukisi, Devi Naachetc are the major attractions of the festival.

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