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Bisket Jatra is a traditional festival celebrated in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal. The Festival falls in the Nepali month of Chaitra and Baisakh, usually in late March or early April.
The Festival is celebrated for nine days and is marked by raising a tall wooden pole (known as “lingo”) at the Bhairab Temple in Bhaktapur. The pole is decorated with colourful cloth banners and is believed to symbolize the victory of good over evil.
The Festival also involves pulling a large chariot carrying the images of the gods Bhairab and Bhadrakali through the streets of Bhaktapur. This is accompanied by loud music, dancing, and sindoor (a red powder) thrown on the participants.
Bisket Jatra is considered one of the most important festivals in the Bhaktapur district, attracting many visitors from Nepal and abroad. It is a time for celebration, merriment, and religious and cultural observances.
History behind Bisket Jatra
The history of Bisket Jatra can be traced back several centuries and is steeped in myth and legend. According to local tradition, the Festival is articulated to keep originated during the reign of the Lichhavi dynasty in Nepal, which ruled from the 3rd century to the 7th century BC.
One popular legend associated with Bisket Jatra tells the story of a demon named Gurumapa who lived in Bhaktapur and terrorized the locals. The king of Bhaktapur offered his daughter a sacrifice to appease the demon and prevent him from causing further harm.
However, a young man named Bhairav, deeply in love with the princess, intervened and killed the demon. Thus saving the princess and the people of Bhaktapur, a statue of Bhairav was installed in Bhaktapur to celebrate this event, and the Festival of Bisket Jatra was established to honour his bravery.
Another legend associated with Bisket Jatra tells the story of two snakes who fell in love with a human couple and helped them to escape from their enemies. In gratitude, the people of Bhaktapur established a temple dedicated to the snakes and began celebrating Bisket Jatra to express their thanks.
Over time, Bisket Jatra has become an important cultural event in Nepal. The Festival is observed with great zeal and reverence by the people of Bhaktapur and the surrounding regions. The Festival performs as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of Nepal and the importance of tradition and community in Nepali society.
Other Facts: Why is Bisket Jatra celebrated?
Bisket Jatra is celebrated to mark the Nepali New Year’s beginning and honour the gods and goddesses worshipped in Bhaktapur. The Festival has both significance, religiously and culturally.
According to the legend, Bisket Jatra is associated with the victory of a Bhaktapur king over a neighbouring kingdom. The Festival is said to have started as a celebration of this victory, and over time it became associated with the worship of the gods Bhairab and Bhadrakali.
During the Festival, the people of Bhaktapur also perform various rituals and ceremonies to seek the blessings of the gods for prosperity, good health, and protection from evil. The Festival is believed to bring good fortune and happiness to the people of Bhaktapur and is an important part of their cultural heritage.
Socio-Cultural Significance of the Festival
Bisket Jatra is an important festival in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal and holds great significance for the region’s people. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Religious significance: Bisket Jatra is a festival celebrated to honour the gods and goddesses worshipped in Bhaktapur. The Festival is believed to bring good fortune and blessings to the people.
- Cultural significance: The Festival has been celebrated for centuries and is integral to the region’s cultural heritage. Bisket Jatra allows the people of Bhaktapur to celebrate their unique cultural identity and traditions.
- Social significance: Bisket Jatra brings people together from different parts of Bhaktapur and beyond. The Festival allows people to interact with each other, strengthen social bonds and build community spirit.
- Tourism: Bisket Jatra is a major tourist attraction in Nepal and attracts visitors from around the world. The Festival provides an opportunity for visitors to experience the rich culture and traditions of Bhaktapur.
- Economic significance: The Festival generates economic activity in the region, as many vendors and businesses set up shop during the Festival. This helps to support the local economy and create employment opportunities.
Overall, Bisket Jatra is an important festival celebrating Bhaktapur’s religious, cultural, social, and economic aspects. The Festival is an expression of the rich cultural heritage of Nepal and is a symbol of unity and community spirit.
How to join the Festival?
If you are interested in joining the celebrations of Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur, Nepal, there are a few things you can do:
- Plan: Bisket Jatra takes place in the Nepali month of Chaitra and Baishakh, usually in late March or early April. If you plan to attend the Festival, check the exact dates and plan your trip accordingly.
- Arrive early: The Festival can be quite crowded, so arriving early is best to secure a good spot to watch the processions and other activities.
- Dress appropriately: The Festival is a traditional event, and it’s best to dress modestly and respectfully. You can wear traditional Nepali clothing or comfortable clothing suitable for the weather.
- Respect the traditions: Bisket Jatra is a religious festival, and it’s important to respect the traditions and customs associated with the event. This includes refraining from smoking or drinking alcohol in public and not interrupting or interfering with rituals or ceremonies.
- Participate respectfully: If you are invited to participate in any Festival’s activities or rituals, do so respectfully and with an open mind. Be courteous and follow any instructions given by the organizers.
Bisket Jatra is a lively and colourful festival that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. Following these tips, you can join the celebrations and experience this important event’s unique traditions and customs.