Legends say that the Indra Jatra festival is observed to celebrate the victory of the gods over the demons to release Jayanta, the son of Lord Indra. This colorful autumn festival which is also known as Kumari Jatra, is celebrated by both the Hindus and Buddhists. The festival is believed to have started by King Gunakamadeva during 18th and is named after Lord Indra who is known as the god of rain and also as the King of heaven.
Indra Jatra festival falls on the fourth day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar. It is celebrated in the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley and in Kavre and Dolakha for 7 days. Indra, the Hindu god of rain and good harvest, is worshiped in this festival. The festival is celebrated by both the Hindus and Buddhists and lasts for eight days with singing, mask dancing and rejoicing.
Celebrations for this year began on Saturday with the hoisting ceremony of ‘Linga’- 36-foot long wooden pole in Basantapur Durbar Square. Though the Jatra began formally from Saturday, the chariot procession of living goddess Kumari, Ganesh and Bhairav, which is the major attraction of the festival, will begin only on Monday to conclude on Friday. Thousands of people from across the Kathmandu valley gather to take part in the procession.
The Linga is pulled down signaling the end of Indra Jatra festival. It is taken to the confluence of Bagmati and Bishnumati in Teku to be put to rest. The end of the Indra Jatra festival heralds the beginning of Dashain and Tihar, two of the greatest festivals of Hindu community which is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the country.