Indra Jatra- Worshipping the Hindu God Indra

Updated on April 23, 2024

Indra is known as a King of Heaven and lord of rain, and Jatra is a procession. So Indra Jatra is a day of thanksgiving and celebration for Lord Indra. At the same time, people celebrate and worship Lord Ganesh, Bhairab, and Kumari (Living Goddess). Bhairab is a manifestation of Lord Shiva, and it is believed that he is a destroyer of the devil. This trendy festival in Kathmandu Valley falls in early September and lasts eight days. People from the Newari community of Kathmandu Valley especially celebrate this festival at the beginning of every autumn season. Every year, Indra Jatra begins on the day of the Bhadra Dwadasi and goes to Ashwin Krishna Chaturdasi as per the Nepali calendar.

How Do People Celebrate Indra Jatra?

During this festival, people construct a wooden ceremonial pole (Linga) made of Pinewood in front of the Hanuman Dhoka, Darbar Square- at Basantapur. This wooden pole(linga) is 36 feet long and was chosen and brought specially from the Nala forest of Kabhre district to Kathmandu with all the care. Many people gather to watch this long pole(linga)-raising ceremony or opening of the Indra Jatra festival. Many local people wearing masks and sharing local Nepali liquors perform different dances representing gods, goddesses, and demons. People display images and sculptures of Indra, Bhairab, and other deities.

The chariot of Living Goddess Kumari is also taken out in this procession on the main street of Kathmandu to thank Indra, the god of rain. In addition, every evening, dancers go to the streets and perform their dances with drum and flute music. Especially at Maru tole in Kathmandu, local people make a wooden stage and displace a statue of Indra with stretched-out arms covered by fiber thread for a public show. This tradition has continued since the Licchavi Dynasty.

There is a legend that the people believe Indra came to Earth in search of a unique holy flower called Parijat, which is unavailable in heaven. Still, it was essential for his mother to make gifts to Lord Shiva (Avaloketeswor for Buddhists). Lord Krishna had brought this sacred plant, "Parijat," down to Earth from heaven, which is why the flower was inaccessible in heaven. When Indra came to Earth, searched parijat everywhere, and finally found a garden, he tried to steal this plant. Still, the park owner was a great Tantric of that time. He recognized him with his divine power, then immediately multiplied his holy rope called Taraan and captured and kept Indra within his Taraan. Indra could not escape when Indra's mother (Dakine Devi) realized that her son had not arrived with the holy flower Parijat. So she came down to Earth to find her son Indra. After hard searching, she found her son Indra on a Tantric web. She talked and negotiated with the Tantrik and finally managed to free her son from the Tantrik's control. When people realize he was Indra, God of Heaven and rain, they regret and celebrate this festival to make Indra happy and calm.

So every night of this festival, there will be a Living Goddess (Kumari)' chariot procession followed by two other chariots carrying a representative of Ganesh and Bhairav that are taken to different parts of the old Kathmandu. Local people perform masked dances like Majipa Lakhey, Pulukishi (elephant dance), Mahankali, and Sawa Bhaku, representing various city deities. At the end of this festival, for eight days, people lower the pole with the flag of Indra. It is believed that Lord Bishnu gave this flag of Indra for Protection.

The main attraction of this famous festival in Nepal is the different types of dances, such as Majipa Lakhey, Pulukishi(elephant dance), Sawan Bhaku, and the chariot of Kumari (Living Goddess), Lord Ganesh, and Bhairab. Besides all these dances, they perform many other dances on the open streets of the city, and people display many other city deities.

Need Help? Call Us on WhatsApp+977 9851079588orChat with us

Mountain Monarch: A Reputed Trekking Company in Nepal, crafting the best and safe adventure trekking and climbing more than two dacades