KATHMANDU, Sept 19: Despite the risk of a new variant of COVID-19, Indra Jatra celebration is in full swing at Basantapur Durbar Square, Kathmandu.

Lakheys are regarded as an Aaju Devata (the God of Peace) though they have a demon-like appearance. There are several kinds of Lakheys in the Newar community and these Lakheys are worshipped as gods because it is believed that they are the reincarnation of Lord Bhairav. It is also believed that Lakheys are the protector of the country and their dance performances protect the nation from evil spirits as well as diseases. The tradition of Lakhey dance dates back to more than 230 years ago. While most might believe that Lakheys and Lakhey dance only exist in the Kathmandu Valley, the tradition is spread across all Newar settlements in the country.