Indra Jatra, one of the highly celebrated festivals of Kathmandu Valley

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KATHMANDU: Indra Jatra, one of the highly celebrated festivals of Kathmandu Valley, is being marked with much enthusiasm today.

The festival, known as Yenya in Nepal Bhasa, is celebrated to honour Indra, the king of heaven and god of rain and harvest, as per the Hindu mythology. Indra Jatra represents the culture, history and legends of Kathmandu Valley.

The eight-day festival began on September 10 by erecting a ceremonial pole — Indradhoj Linga or Ya-Sin — at Hanuman Dhoka in Basantapur Durbar Square.

Today is Kwaneyā, the first day of the chariot procession of the Living Goddess Kumari. Regarded as the main day of the festival, chariots carrying KumariGanesh and Bhairav are pulled through the southern part of the town. A large crowd gathers at Basantapur today to pay their reverence to the living goddess and to cheer in the festivities.

Heads of the state also visit Hanuman Dhoka to pay their respect to the gods and goddesses. Similarly, today, family members of the deceased who passed away in the last one year light small butter lamps and incense along the processional route. In the night, after Kumari returns back from the procession, another procession called Dāgin beings.

Likewise, tomorrow’s chariot procession is called Thaneyā while the day after that is known as Nānichāyā.

The final day of the festival falls on September 17 this year when the Ya-Sin pole erected at Hanuman Dhoka will be taken down in a ceremony known as Ya-Sin Kwathalegu.

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