Indra Jatra is the biggest street festival of Kathmandu which is also celebrated in different parts of Nepal. This festival is celebrated for 8 days in the month of Bhadra (i.e. September in solar calendar). After celebrating Gai Jatra, Indra Jatra is celebrated on the street of Kathmandu Valley. Indra Jatra is also called Yenyā where Ye means “Kathmandu” and Ya means “celebration”. In together Ye and Ya give the meaning “celebration in Kathmandu”. This festival consists of two events, Indra Jatra and Kumari Jatra. Indra Jatra is celebrated in honor of the god Indra (the god of Rain and king of heaven according to the Hindu rituals). This festival is marked by masked dances of gods and demons, displays of holy images and thanking god Indra for rain. Kathmandu Durbar Square also called Haman Dhoka is the main venue for the celebration.
King Gunakamadeva(गुणकामदेव) started the festival Indra Jatra in order to celebrate the founding of Kathmandu valley in the 10 century. In the mid-18th century, Kumari Jatra began to celebrate. Indra Jatra festival is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, That is why the dates of the festival are changeable. This year 2018, the is celebrated from 21th to 28th of September (Asoj 5th to Asoj 12th according to BS calender). The main attraction of the festival is falling on 24th September i.e. 8th Asoj.
The festival begins with the erection of Yosin Thanegu (योसिं थनेगु) also called Yosin of Linga. Yosin Thanegu is a pole which is brought by dragging from Chitapol Bhaktapur (in 2018) to the Kathmandu Durbar by men pulling on ropes. The branches of a tree are shorn and the bark is stripped. It is obtained from a forest near Nala which is a small city 29 kilometers to the east of Kathmandu.
Kumari Jatra is a chariot festival of Kumari. It overlaps with Indra Jatra festival. This festival began in 1756 AD during the rule of Jaya Prakash Malla. Throughout the celebration, three chariots carrying human symbols of the god Ganesha, Bhairava and Kumari escorted by musical bands are pulled along the celebration route of Kathmandu on three days. The procession begins around 3 pm.
Day 1: The First Day is Kumari Jatra called Kwaneyā (क्वनेया:) in Nepali. On the first day the Chariots are pulled through the southern part of Kathmandu.
Day 2: The second day is a full moon day called Yenya Punhi (येँयाः पुन्हि). During the procession called Thaneya((थनेया:), chariots are pulled through the north part of Kathmandu till Asan.
Day 3: The third day is called Nānichāyā (नानिचाया:), on this day the chariots are pulled through the central section of Kilagal.
- Route on the first day of Kumari Jatra, Kwaneyā (downtown procession): Basantapur- Maru – hikanmugal – Jaisidewal- Lagan- Brahma Marga – Wonde – Hyumata, Kohity – Bhimsensthan – Maru -Basantapur(Hanuman Dhoka).
- Route on the second day of Kumari Jatra, Thaneyā (uptown procession): Basantapur – Pyaphal – Yatkha – Nyata – Tengal – Nhyokha – Nhaikan Tol – Asan – Kel Tol – Indra Chok – Makhan – Basantapur.
- Route on the third day of Kumari Jatra, Nānichāyā (midtown procession): Basantapur – Pyaphal – Yatkha – Nyata – Kilagal – Bhedasing -Indra Chok – Makhan – Basantapur.