Week-long Indra Jatra festival begins in Kathmandu amid COVID-19

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Representative image
Representative image

Kathmandu [Nepal] September 18 (ANI): Area in front of Kaal Bhairabin Durbar Square was packed with devotees and onlookers on Saturday to witness the inauguration of Ya: Shi, a sacred pole signalising Lord Indrain in the main square of the shrine.

Ya:Shi is called 'Indradhwojotthan' signalises the start of the festive season in Nepal.

"Ya: Shi is regarded as an incarnation of Lord Indra, who is symbolically tied onto it. This also symbolizes that Lord Indra has been captured on earth from the heaven and formal beginning of Jatra," a devotee told ANI.

"Tomorrow (Sunday) is the first day of this Jatra festival," the devotee added.

One of the biggest festivals of Newa Community, Indra Jatra is dedicated to the god of rain and king of heaven Lord Indra. The festival begins on the Bhadra Shukla Chaturdashias per the Nepali calendar and lasts for a week.

People also say that the Indra Jatra festival is observed to celebrate the victory of the gods over the demons.

It is believed that Lord Indra came to the earth to collect white flowers for his mother but was caught by the locals (The Newars) of the Kathmandu valley and kept him bounded.

"Lord Indra came to earth in disguised form to earth to take night-flowering jasmine for treatment of his mother. He plucked the flowers without taking permission from locals here because of which he was captured here," another devotee attending the procession told ANI.

Apart from the Kathmandu Valley, Kavre and the Dolakha District of the country also celebrate this festival.

Postponed due to the pandemic for the first time in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IndraJatra this is year is expected to host thousands of devotees.

With about 20 per cent of the population inoculated against COVID-19, Nepal still continues to report new cases of contagion in four digits.

On Saturday, the country reported 1066 cases of COVID 19 with 1,234 recoveries and 16 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

As many as 11,385 COVID-19 tests were conducted on Saturday. Of them, 8,540 PCR and 2,818 antigen tests turned out to be positive for COVID-19. (ANI)

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