Started by Lichhavi king Gunkamadev in Kaligat Sambat 3822, Indra Jatra is a week long festival in remembrance of the lord of rain and king of heaven: Indra. Also called Yen Yaa in Newari culture, this festival is a paradise for photographers in Kathmandu. With events happening in every corner of the old city, this week long festival reflects the culture and tradition of Kathmandu valley. This year, Indra Jatra started from September 6, 2014 and is celebrated till September 12, 2014.
All image/text courtesy to Yakka Makka Photography
Man cleaning the mask of Swet Bhairab. Swet Bhairab is only opened for a week on the occasion of Indra Jatra. It is believed that the god was kept behind the wooden bars after he started eating young children in day light
A devotee clicking the picture of Swet Bhairab after it was opened for public.
A devotee worshiping the 36 feet long wooden pole before its erection. The Linga or Yasingh with a flag on the top is erected to mark the beginning of this week long festival.
The 36 feet long linga is chosen with great care from the Nala forest in Kavre district, east of Kathmandu.
A visitor documenting the inauguration of Indra Jatra.
The 36 feet long linga being erected by officials.
Officials giving support to the base of the lings before it stands upright.
The 36 feet long linga stands tall in basantapur premises.
Locals witnessing the inauguration of Indra Jatra.
A devotee lighting the fire to worship Swet Bhairab.
Guruju Ko Paltan
The great King Prithivi Narayan Shah attacked Kathmandu when the people were celebrating Indra Jatra. These brave men, dressed in black, were the men who successfully attacked Kathmandu, thus beginning the Shah regime.
The demon dance of Lākhey is performed on the streets of old city through out the week.
A father helping is boy to view the procession
Started by Jaya Prakash Malla in 1756AD, the chariot pulling ceremony starts from the third day of Indra Jatra. Three chariots carrying human representation of deities Ganesh, Bharirab and Kumari are pulled along the festival route.
These three chariots are accompanied by ethnic musical bands around the old city
The living godess Kumari
On the first day of Kumari Jatra known as Kwaneyā (क्वनेया:), the chariots are pulled through the southern part of town. The second day is the full moon day known as Yenya Punhi (येँयाः पुन्हि). During the procession known as Thaneyā (थनेया:), the chariots are drawn through the northern part till Asan.
The living goddess kumari.
There are several verses in the Vedas which eloquently glorify the position of Kumaris and their role in various spheres of life. As a female deity, she possesses Shakti (Power). Both benevolent and fearful. She is worshipped as Kali, Durga and Taleju, etc. Moreover, Kumari as a female deity is worshiped as the living virgin goddess, the defender of the living beings.
Lord Indra disguised as a farmer, descended to earth in search of parijat (Night jasmine), a white flower his mother Basundhara. As he was plucking the flowers at Maruhiti, a sunken water spout at Maru, the people caught and bound him like a common thief. He was then put on display in the town square of Maru in Kathmandu.
Basundhara, mother of lord Indra, worried about her son’s absence, came to Kathmandu and wandered around looking for him. This event is commemorated by the procession of Dagin (दागिं: human representation of god Indra’s mother) through the city. Pulu Kisi or Tana Kisi, a human representation of an elephant, also runs around town reenacting Indra’s elephant searching frantically for its master.
“Dhin na Le Sing Tang” performing a ritual dance
Akash Bhairav, believed to be the head of first kirat king Yalamber, is displayed at Indra Chowk decorated with flowers. It is also believed that Akash Bhairav’s head is related to Mahabarata Story
People waiting for the Chariot to return in basantapur.