Culture and traditions vary from place to place, yet every cultural and traditional event brings different experiences with them. In Kathmandu, various cultural festivals are celebrated among huge crowds of locals who gather together with traditional beliefs of their own. Then there come Jatras, maybe the largest street carnival in Nepal, mostly of Newari culture but are enjoyed by thousands. The colossal mass of people who gather to respect and continue their old traditions with chants, cheers, drum and Jhyali Jhyamta beats make everyone’s adrenaline boost up.
1. Bisket Jatra
Bisket Jatra is observed in places like Tokha, Dhapasi and many more. However, the cultural and astonishing celebrations that are carried out in Bhaktapur are truly sublime. Having rich history, a mighty chariot is constructed in Bhaktapur, near the Nyatapol temple and is taken around the city with other unique ceremonies like tongue piercing in Balkumari, tug-of-war between locals etc. in different parts of the city.
2. Ghode Jatra
This jatra is only celebrated inside the Kathmandu valley, so we can imagine how grand of a celebration it is. A horse race alongside a large parade is organized on this day at Tudikhel, so you can expect a huge crowd around this ground. Following a traditional belief, a huge meal is prepared for Gurumapa, a Hindu demon on this special day. There are many folklores and myths behind this jatra, but as a whole, this festival is a moment to live.
3. Bhoto Jatra
Jatras and the chariots pulled in them are always big and mesmerizing. But no chariots can beat the size of the Rato Machendranath’s chariot on the day of Bhoto jatra. This gigantic ‘raath’ is hauled around Kathmandu and a beautiful vest (bhoto) embedded with jewels is displayed at the end of the ceremony. Legend has it that this bhoto was gifted by the serpent king Karkotak to a farmer who healed the eye-pain of the king’
s beloved wife. A big mass of people gather to participate in the pulling of this chariot as well as observe this beautiful vest.
4. Indra Jatra
This festival mainly consists of two large jatras, Indra Jatra and Kumari Jatra. During the Indra Jatra, people disguise themselves into various demons & gods while dancing throughout the procession. Similarly, during Kumari jatra, a beautiful chariot carrying the living goddess of Nepal (Kumari) is pulled so people get a chance to see the beautiful diety. This jatra is truly alluring as it has so much to give and people get a chance to catch the glimpse of Aakash Bhairav’s mighty mask.
5. Gai Jatra
Traditionally, this jatra is carried out to lament on the death of a family member with a cow leading the path. However, the modern day Gai jatra is celebrated by organizing various comedy shows, dramas and events in different places of the valley, especially the streets. National comedians make satires about the political conditions of Nepal. This day has a great importance as various comedy competitions are carried out in schools, colleges and various places of Nepal.