KATHMANDU: The Indra Jatra, which is popularly known for the feast of pulling chariot, is being celebrated in the Capital today. The procession of Indra Jatra festival has started at around 5 pm on Wednesday.
The procession was taken out from Hanumandhoka Durbar Square after a religious function. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav has also graced the function. Vice President Permananda Yadav, Chief of Interim Election government and other senior government officials were also present on the occasion.
The chariot procession, which begins on the third day of the festival, is the major attraction of Indra Jatra, celebrated for eight days to worship lord Indra and Kumari, the living goddess. The towering structure of the sacred chariot, made of a tree brought to Kathmandu all the way from Bhaktapur’s Sallaghari, contains statues of various avatars of Indra and Kumari.
On the first day of procession, the chariot is pulled through a route starting from Basantapur to Jaisedewal, Lagan, Bramha Tole, Bhimsen Than and back to Basantapur.
Thousands of devotees throng the entire Basantapur and surrounding areas covering the route of the procession. Over 1,000 security personnel from Nepal Police have been deployed to avoid any untoward incident during celebrations.
On Thursday, the chariot will be pulled along Basantapur, Ittkha, Naradevi, Tengal, Baangemuda, Ason, Indrachowk and back to Basantapur. The procession on the second day of chariot pulling is followed by a two-day break. After that, on the eighth day of the festival, the chariot is taken to Mahankal from Basantapur and back to Hanumandhoka for concluding rituals.
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.
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