Indra Jatra Festival Mythology

  • Day Tours Nepal
  • Last Updated on Dec 17, 2023

Indra Jatra, or "Yenya,” is the biggest religious festival in Kathmandu, Nepal; Yenya means “Kathmandu festival in Nepal Bhasa. Indra is the Lord of Rain and the King of Heaven, and this festival is celebrated for God Indra. During the Indra Jatra Festival, Kumari rides around Kathmandu Valley in a wooden chariot. A wooden chariot will be pulled by many people’s by ropes. Kumar is protected by Ganesh in front and Bhairav at the end; you can see Ganesh's chariot at first, followed by Kumari and Bhairav at the end.

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The Mythology Of Indra Jatra

Its interesting mythology is the Indra Jatra. So many centuries ago, God Indra's mother needed a special scented flower called "Parijat” (Coral Jasmine). Indra looked around in heaven, but he couldn’t find it; luckily, he saw that flower in Kathmandu Valley. When he was picking flowers, an angry old farmer saw him picking flowers from his land, and Indra was tied up by the farmer and imprisoned by people in the valley.

Elephant During The Festival

The elephant was looking for his lord to return, but he couldn’t find his master. The elephant angrily broke his restraints and crashed around the Kathmandu valley. The elephant is the transporter of Lord Indra.

So after 8 days, Indra revealed himself to be a god in front of the town (Kathmandu Durbar Square, Basantapur), and people let him go.

Indra Jatra Festival Mythology

The Mythology of Kumari

Malla Kings ruled over 500 years of Kathmandu Valley. The ruler of old Kathmandu was renowned as a wise and great king. The interesting part is that King had a secret: at night, he leaves his house and makes his way into an empty dwelling where he would play games of chance with the beautiful and powerful goddess "Taleju.” { We can see Taleju temple at Kathmandu Durbar Square}. Taleju personally advises him on matters of state on the condition that he and he alone would be allowed to see her and sit in her company. By doing this activity, the Queen became suspicious of the King's late-night meandering and decided to follow him. When Taleju was talking with King, Taleju heard the feminine voice behind the door. The beautiful goddess instantly vanished and never returned.

But, however, Tajelu agreed to spiritually inhabit the body of a young girl chosen from a few honored families of the Newari priestly class. { Kumari is selected from the high-class Newar “Shakya, Bajracharya” family.” The girl must be from a high-class family, first shed blood, either through injury or menstruation, and only be a living goddess. Kumari is sheltered and kept hidden away from the public, except for Indra Jatra.

Indra Jatra Festival Date

  • September 17, 2024

Nepal follows the lunar calendar, meaning that the Western calendar dates for these festivals are slightly different each year.

How Many Days Is Indra Jatra Celebrated?

The Indra Jatra festival is celebrated for 8 days in the Kathmandu Valley by the Newar community of Kathmandu. It marks the beginning of a month-long festival season in autumn.

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