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Bisket Jatra - Weeklong Festival in Bhaktapur

  • Author: Naba Raj Amgai
  • Posted on: Wednesday May 9, 2018
bisket-jatra

Bisket Jatra is a week-long chariot festival celebrated in Bhaktapur. Idols of Bhadrakali and Bhairav are pulled in wooden chariots during the festival. This week-long festival starts with a special tantric ritual in the Bhairab Temple at the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The chariot with the idols of the gods is pulled through the entire city of Bhaktapur by devotees.

Bisket Jatra is a week-long chariot festival celebrated in Bhaktapur. Idols of Bhadrakali and Bhairav are pulled in wooden chariots during the festival. This week-long festival starts with a special tantric ritual in the Bhairab Temple at the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The chariot with the idols of the gods are pulled through the entire city of Bhaktapur by devotees.

Bisket Jatra is celebrated in Bhaktapur and Thimi at the start of the Nepali New Year. If you belong to the valley, you sure will be familiar of a lot of Jatras and festivals. Bisket Jatra is just one of them which mainly praise the God Bhairav and the Goddess Bhadrakali. People prepare huge chariots and they are pulled by young men all around the narrow streets of Bhaktapur. There is even a tug of war between the people living in the upper part and the lower part of the medieval city.

There are many legends associated with Bisket Jatra. Among the many stories, the legend about the princess and the snake is quite popular and widely accepted by the Newari community.

According to the legend, King Jagajoyti Malla once heard the story of a princess from Bhaktapur who was cursed. Anyone who married her died the next morning. The princess’s father was very worried as none of the royal princes wanted to marry his daughter after getting to know of the curse.

Finally an old woman’s son was chosen to marry the princess. She was reluctant to give her son as he was her only support during old age. But an old lady came and offered advice to the boy on what to do on the wedding night which made him agree to the proposal.

 On the wedding night, once the princess fell asleep, the boy remained awake following the advice of the old lady. He noticed that two rope like things came out the nostrils of the princess which took the shape of snakes. These snakes were the ones who were killing the suitors of the princess. The boy quickly cut the snakes and killed them as was advised by the old lady.

When he was found alive and well the next morning, the denizens of Bhaktapur erupted in joy. There was much merriment and joy in the kingdom. People later discovered that the old lady who had advised the young boy was none other than Goddess Bhadrakali.

King Jagajoyti loved the story and wanted it to be remembered by the people. He started the ‘Bisyaku Jatra’ to commemorate this event.  The ‘jatra’ was later renamed Bisket Jatra. Every year during the festival, this story is enacted in the form of a play.

Bisket Jatra is also celebrated in the neighbouring localities of Thimi and Balakhu as Sindur Jatra and Jibro Chedne Jatra(tongue piercing festival). Local inhabitants gather in the streets with the chariots carrying different gods and goddesses and sindoor (vermilion powder) is showered over the gods and people. During the ‘Jibro Chedne Jatra’ men from a particular community pierce their tongues with skewers and march down the streets.

This chariot festival is celebrated in April and marks the beginning of the Nepalese New Year.  Like all Nepalese festivals it celebrates the victory of good over evil. Blessings are sought from Goddess Bhadrakali and Lord Bhairav while their chariots are being pulled by fervent devotees across the crowded streets of medieval Bhaktapur. Lasting for a week this boisterous and spiritually charged festival is worth witnessing if you visit Kathmandu around the time of this festival (usually April first or second week).

  • Author: Naba Raj Amgai
  • Posted on: Wednesday May 9, 2018
Naba Raj

About Author - Naba Raj Amgai

Naba Raj Amgai, stepped into the world of travel and tourism in 1996. He is Founder and Managing Director of Third Rock Adventures.

Beginning his journey in the tourism industry as a humble Porter Guide to founding hospitality establishments and an adventure travel company, he has come a long way.

In a career spanning more than two decades, he has achieved more than anybody dreams of achieving. Along with his professional achievements, his selfless contribution towards his community and society has won him a lot of accolades and praises.

Having dedicated more than two decades in the tourism and hospitality sector, he has amassed a wealth of experience.

After passing high school, he began helping out some trekking guides and was soon recruited as a porter guide at a reputed trekking agency. Within a short time, he was individually guiding clients across the well-known trails of the Himalayas.

He went on to lead tour groups on multi-country tours to Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. Being a part of mountain climbing expeditions familiarised him with expedition logistics and operations. Later on, he went to become the Executive Director and took over the reins of Operations, Sales and Marketing departments. Spending several years in the tourism field has made Naba Raj Amgai a destination expert.

Travelling is his passion and he has been to many countries across the world – USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Holland, Germany, Austria and many parts of Asia.

His journeys to different parts of the world have enriched his travel experience and knowledge. This experience has been instrumental in planning and organizing successful trips for several clients.

As of today many reputed travel companies, hotels and restaurants are under his leadership. A dynamic and proactive leader, he continues to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life.

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