It is a well known fact that Hinduism and Buddhism are the two major religions of Nepal, each having it's own rules and rituals. However, like most festivals of Nepal, both Hindus and Buddhist unite to celebrate the festival of Indra Jatra. This festival is celebrated by both Hindus and Buddhists with great enthusiasm. It is also believed that Indra Jatra is a festival of classical dances. It is on this very day when one is able to observe numerous varieties of traditional dances. The festival is named after Lord Indra who is known as the god of rain and also as the king of heaven.
The festival of Indra Jatra continues for eight days with much rejoicing, singing, dancing and feasting. People from all over Nepal, mostly those who live within the Kathmandu Valley, gather at the Hanuman Dhoka in Kathmandu. The first day of the festival is viewed by a large number of people. On that day, a long wooden pole is erected in front of the ancient Royal Palace at Hanuman Dhoka, in order to propitiate Lord Indra, the"god of rain". Classical dancers also assemble at the spot, wearing different kinds of traditional masks and costumes and dancing around the courtyard of Hanuman Dhoka to celebrate Indra's visit.
On the third day of the festival of Indra Jatra, the living goddess Kumari is taken out in a procession in a chariot. "Kumari", the "living goddess", is considered to be an incarnation of the goddess "Taleju". Chariots of Kumari, Ganesha and Bhairav are taken around the city for three days. According to Hindu beliefs Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati who has a head of an elephant and Bhairav is another form of Lord Shiva himself.
The king of Nepal, the only Hindu king in the world, also pays homage to the Kumari during this period. The festival's many interesting dances, including the Procession of Living Goddess-Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Dasha Avatara masked dances are staged in Kathmandu Durbar Square, near the Kumari Temple. The "Dasha Avatara" refers to the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu who is one of the Hindu's Holy trinity. The excitement of the festival of Indra Jatra comes to an end on the last evening of the festival when the long wooden pole erected on the first day is lowered with religious ceremonies, animal sacrifices and ritual gestures.
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.Day 3-6
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 King of Nepal, the only Hindu monarch in the world, 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.
Protest Against Finance Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai for discontinuing finance for Indra Jatra (Sept. 21, 08')