A Nepali touch for New Year’s: Bisket Jatra

  •   2018-04-14  |  nepaltraveller.com

Bisket Jatra is a revered festival celebrated by people of Kathmandu Valley, especially the ones from Bhaktapur. People parade for eight nights and nine days to celebrate this auspicious festival.

As the year comes to an end, natives of the Kathmandu Valley especially the ones from Bhaktapur prepare for the much revered Bisket Jatra. An eight nights and 9 days long festive parade starting at Bhaktapur continues all the way down to Thimi. BIsket Jatra starts few days before the Nepali New Year’s Day every year.

The festival marks the arrival of the new year by erecting a wooden pole called lingo at Tamhari square. Marking the beginning of the new year, the pole is erected on the last day of the year and brought down on the first day of the new year. Locals of Thane (Upper town) and Kone (lower town) of Bhaktapur participate in a ‘tug of war’, in which young people try to pull the three-storey chariot of Lord Bhairav into their town.The two chariots called “Raths” are hoisted by young males with the help of ropes as the parade begins. During the procession, these magnificent Raths are set to rest at certain places in the city where locals come and pay their reverence to Bhairav and Bhadrakali, the deities placed in the chariots. Other gods and goddesses are also enthroned on palanquins in the chariots.


Although there are many legends regarding the origin of Bisket Jatra, all of them centre around two serpent incarnation of Bhadrakali and Bhairav. Regardless of its legend, Bisket Jatra is an auspicious festival of Bhaktapur. The festival is followed by a huge feast all over the city. People gather in front of the chariots and pay respect to Bhairab and Bhadrakali. Locals sing songs and play the drums and other melodic instruments to welcome the new year.

Watching inebriated and energetic young males pull chariots across the city might seem unappealing to some. But witnessing the unabated cheering and the pious sentiments; changes the atmosphere to nothing but totally exciting. With this exhilarating experience, the Bisket Jatra swings on leaving all participants a memory never to forget.

 

Animesh Dali

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