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HomeArt & CultureIndra Jatra: A Complete Guide to Nepal's Biggest Street Festival

Indra Jatra: A Complete Guide to Nepal’s Biggest Street Festival

Indra Jatra, also known as Yenya, is a lively and colorful festival cherished in Nepal. This festival holds both religious and cultural importance, honoring Lord Indra, the Hindu deity responsible for rain and thunder. It also marks the start of the harvest season.

Indra Jatra spans eight days, occurring in September or October, following the lunar calendar. The festivities kick off with the raising of tall wooden poles called “lingos” in towns and villages across the Kathmandu Valley. These lingos symbolize Lord Indra himself.

On the second day, a lingo is transported from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu and set up on a chariot at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square. This is accompanied by various cultural performances and religious rituals.

The main attraction of the Indra Jatra festival happens on the seventh day – the grand chariot procession. This procession showcases three chariots, one each for Kumari (the living goddess), Ganesh, and Bhairav. These chariots are pulled through the narrow streets of Kathmandu by thousands of devoted participants.

Indra Jatra brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate their culture and traditions, creating a joyful atmosphere filled with music, dance, and vibrant colors.

The History of Indra Jatra


The exact origins of Indra Jatra remain somewhat unclear, but it’s believed to be one of Nepal’s oldest festivals. Some historians suggest it dates back to the 10th century or possibly even earlier.

One intriguing legend suggests that King Gunakamadeva of Kathmandu initiated Indra Jatra to commemorate the city’s founding in the 10th century. Another legend attributes the festival to the celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

Regardless of its beginnings, Indra Jatra is now a significant festival in Nepal, providing a time for people to unite and celebrate their culture, traditions, and faith.

Participating in Indra Jatra Celebrations in Nepal

If you find yourself in Nepal during Indra Jatra, don’t miss the chance to join in the festivities. There are various ways to experience this vibrant festival.

One of the best ways is to witness the chariot procession on the seventh day. The chariots, adorned with flowers and streamers, are pulled through Kathmandu’s narrow streets by devotees dressed in traditional attire.

You can also enjoy cultural performances during the festival, including traditional music, dance, and theatrical plays.

For those interested in the religious aspects of Indra Jatra, visiting the temples in the Kathmandu Valley is a great idea. During the festival, these temples are adorned with flowers and streamers, hosting special religious ceremonies daily.

However you choose to celebrate Indra Jatra, you’re guaranteed to create lasting memories. It’s a lively and colorful festival filled with joy and merriment.

ALSO READ: Kingfisher Tal: A Guide to Nepal’s Most Serene Bird-Watching Spot

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