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Indra Jatra: the biggest festival in Kathmandu

The traditional Newari festival, Indra Jatra, known as Yenya in Newari dialect, is the biggest street festival in Kathmandu. Thousands of people gather and worship to King of heaven, Indra as a symbol of victory of gods over devils.

The Indra Jatra, eight day long festival begins with the erecting Indradhwoj linga, a secret wooden pole, at Hanumandhoka, Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Newari mask dances like Lakhey dance, Mahakali dance, Pulu Kisi dance and Dash Avatar dance also are performed with playing drums, cymbals and other Newari folk musical instrument.

During this festival, three chariots carrying human representations of goddess Kumari, god Ganesh and Bhairava are pulled by people along the many streets through Kathmandu until third days.

Each night of Indra Jatra the shrines and ancient palace buildings around Kathmandu Durbar Square, butter lamp are lighted. In front of Living Goddess temple, there is performance depicting the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Idol of Akash Bhairab

The large idol of Akash Bhairab’s head is put on display in temple at Indra Chowk.

According to myth, Indra, the god of heaven, once secretly visited Kathmandu as a farmer to steal Parijat (Jasmine flower).  Indra was caught by a Tantric when he plucked the flowers at Maruhiti and bound him as a common thief.  And then Indra was put on display on the street of Kathmandu. His mother came to earth, and promised to provide timely rainfall for the freedom of her son, Indra. When local people realized they had captured Indra, they immediately released Indra and locals of Kathmandu started celebrating the festival every year.