The Indra Jatra festival is being observed in Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas on Monday.
The festival is celebrated with a chariot procession of Lord Indra, the God of rain, harvest and fertility.
A big chariot of Kumari and two smaller chariots of Ganesh and Bhairab are also pulled along the core area of the old city.
President Ram Baran Yadav along with chiefs of constitutional bodies is scheduled to visit Basantapur this afternoon to observe the chariot procession.
Indra Jatra began two days ago when the lingo, a towering wooden structure brought all the way from Sallaghari in Bhaktapur, was installed on the chariot in Hanumandhoka.
Though the main day of the festival is today, it will last for some more days.
According to Hari Kumar Shrestha, programme manager at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square Conservation Programme under Kathmandu Metropolitan City, on the first day of procession (today), the chariots will be pulled through a route starting from Kashthamandap, Chikmugal, Manipat, Jaisidewal, Jyabahal, Lagan, Bramha tole, Wande, Hyumat, Kohiti, Maru Twa and Kumari Ghar.
Likewise, on September 9, the second day, the chariots will be taken to Maru, Pyafal, Yatkha, Nardevi, Tengal, Nyokha, Bangemuda, Ason, Janabahal, Indra Chowk, Makhan, Hanumandhoka and Kumari Ghar.
Similarly, on September 12, on the concluding day of the week-long celebrations, the chariots will be pulled along the route of Maru, Pyafal, Yatkha, Nardevi, Kilagal, Indra Chowk, Makhan, Hanumandhoka and back to Kumari Ghar.
During the first and final day of chariot procession, the Head of the State visits Hanumandhoka. The festival concludes after the Head of State receives tika from the Goddess Kumari.
Indra Jatra has an interesting story behind the inception of its celebration. According to legends, lord Indra’s mother Dakini was in need of a flower of ‘parijat’ to cure her ailments. Indra dropped down to earth to look for the flower and found it in Kathmandu. When he was about to pluck the flower, locals caught him on charge of theft, after which Dakini herself had to come down to Kathmandu and rescue her son, producing evidences to prove to the locals that the one charged of stealing was rather lord Indra. Remorseful at their deed, the locals thereafter started celebrating Indra Jatra.