|Decorated religious statue|
I arrived in Kathmandu this year on September 27th, the first day of the Indra Jatra Festival. This is a Newari Festival; The Newari were the first settlers of Kathmandu Valley. It began during the Lichhavi period, 300 BC to 12 AD by King Gunakandev. Later in 1786 AD, the last Malla of Kathmandu, Prak ash Malla started the Kumari Jatra I tribute to the Goddess Teleju Bhawani. Each of these two co-coinciding festivals began because of two individual myths (read metro section of the Kathmandu Post September 28, 2012
This year for the first time, the Lingo – a tall wooden pole (phallic symbol) that is erected yearly in remembrance of the Jatra fell on the ground during the first attempt to raise it. Also, a Singha (lion) statue related to the Kumari Jatra fell the ground. Both mishaps are considered bad omens for the country.
Meanwhile, on the third day of the Indra Jatra there is a procession of the Kumari Goddess through Durbur Square. This procession is repeated three days in a row. Then the little goddess is returned to her temple on the edge of the square to be sequestered there with no companionship her own age and educated only in Sand script until she is taken out and paraded around the square the next year for three days at five PM with masses of crowds looking on (I have been told that the temple keepers ply her with local wine on these days so the crowds will not be so overwhelming for this sheltered child).
|Current Kumari Goddess|
Besides battling the festival crowds, I had a very enjoyable time with my friends who are the owners of the wonderful Hotel Ganesh Himal, whose gracious rooms and lovely garden is a real haven in the middle of the sometimes almost primitive mass of porters, bicycle rickshaw drivers, honking horns, speeding cycle riders, baggers, and hawkers who crowd the streets of Thamel and the surrounding area.
|Rickshaws ready for customers|