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Are you ready for Kumari Rath Jatra?
Graphics: Emil Shrestha/Republica
The streets, narrow lanes, chowks and bazaars come alive with traditional music, mask dances and the merrymakers during Kathmandu’s longest festival—Yenya Punhi or Indra Jatra. And the chariot pulling festival—Kumari Rath Jatra— is one of the main attractions of the festival. Three ancient chariots of Living Goddess Kumari, Lord Ganesh and Lord Bhairab are pulled for three days on different route for each day.
And the first day of Kumari Rath Jatra is being observed on Friday. The first day is known as 'Khone Yaan' begins from Kumari Ghar, Basantapur and heads toward Chikanmugal, Jaisi Dewal, Lagan, Hyumat, Bhimsensthan, Maru and halts at Kumari Ghar. Lord Ganesh’s chariot is pulled first, followed by Lord Bhairab and then Kumari.
Thousands gather at Basantapur every year during Indra Jatra and the scene is completely overwhelming as the spectators fill the square before Kumari House, the steps and tiers of surrounding temples, windows, balconies and rooftops for blocks around.
Three huge and ancient chariots heavily decorated with flowers, greenery and umbrellas of gold thread wait in the street for Living Goddess Kumari along with Lord Ganesh and Lord Bhairab to enshrine in the chariots.
Amidst the presence of pressing crowds, a goat is sacrificed to the heavy wooden tongue or yoke of Kumari's carriage to pacify the god Bhairab, controller of the physical power which moves all vehicles. It is believed that if this is not done, he may take a life by causing one of the heavy, wooden wheels to crush one of those who pull the chariot.
After the firing of military guns, the three chariots move forward, pulled and pushed by a group of shouting men, honored to perform this sacred duty.
It was on this very day in 1768 Shah king, Prithivi Narayan Shah conquered Kathmandu.
- by Associated Press
- by Republica