An affair with Bisket Jatra

I always loved to participate in various festivals around Asia. One of the most beautiful festival I experienced in Aisa was Thimphu Domchoe. Here is my story about Bisket Jatra in Nepal.

After travelling for more than twelve weeks in South East Asia, I wanted to see the amazing festival that happens in Bhaktapur city, known as Bisket Jatra in Nepal, which is the Nepali New Year. While the whole world is still in 2013, Nepal is already celebrating year 2070.

Women dancing on the eve of bisket jatra in nepal

Women dancing on the eve of the festival

The Nepalese new year is celebrated in different cultural style in every city, but the most remarkable would be in Bhaktapur. According to the legend, while the princess sneezed two serpents, came out flying from her nostrils. The serpents would kill everyone who slept with the princess, but one day the serpents would take their last breath when the princess sleeps with a meticulous person who kills them with his Tantric powers. On knowing about this the next morning the king hosted two long flags on a long wooden pole known as Yoshin. Every year these flags are hosted in a dramatic spirit over this long wooden pole.

Another legend has it that, Bisket festival is a celebration of mating of God Bhairab and Goddess Bhadrakali, the Hindu deities. The chariots of the two deities are paraded to the around the city to their respective places and on the first day of the new year the chariots are made to collide each other symbolizing mating of the two deities.

The main attraction is before four days of the new year when the village is divide into two zones and the chariot  with the Bhairab image is pulled in a tug or war mood, starting at the Bhairab Temple in the Taumadhi Square. Which ever side wins the tug of war, has the responsibly of taking care of image of the deity until the following year. Later, after two days, the chariot is pulled back towards the Taumadhi Square to a place known as Gahiti, where animal sacrifice is done in front of the chariot by the people from around the district. The animal sacrifice can be from a big cow to a small chicken egg.

The chariot being pulled in tug or war mood

The chariot being pulled in Taumadhi square

On the last day of the year, the wooden pole(around 108 meters in height) is grounded at the Yoshin Khel where a large number of people participate in grounding the wooden pole in a vertical position. The celebrations are marked to an end when the pole is again pulled down on the evening of the new year. Later on the Bhairab and Bhadrakali chariots collided against each other with great passion, enthusiasm and joy symbolizing the mating of the former deities.

The large wooden pole at the Yoshin Khel

The large wooden pole at the Yoshin Khel being pulled down

Sai Karthik Reddy Mekala

Karthik Reddy has been traveling around the world since completing his M.B.A in 2012. He is passionate about photography, trying out new food, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and explore places solo.

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