Indra Jatra is a festival celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, the King of the heavens.
Once Lord Indra came down from devlok (heaven) to Kathmandu disguised as a poor peasant, to gather parijat flowers for his mother. He was plucking the flowers from a garden when he was caught. People took him for a thief and had him bound. Meanwhile his white elephant wandered the streets of Kathmandu searching for him. His mother also got anxious when he did not return. So she too came down to Kathmandu to look for him. She discovered him at the city square where people had bound him up. When the people discovered that the person they had bound up was actually Indra, the Lord of Heaven they were very embarrassed. They sought his pardon and later on celebrated his visit to Kathmandu with feasts, processions, singing and dancing. To this day people of Kathmandu celebrate this occasion with a festival known as Indra Jatra during September.
[The image of Akash Bhairav placed outside the temple in Indrachowk. The image is taken out only during the Indra Jatra festival. ]
The festival lasts for eight days with singing, mask dancing and rejoicing. The chariot of Kumari – the Living Goddess is taken through the main streets of Kathmandu with much fanfare. On the first day, the King of Nepal used to pay homage to Goddess Kumari, but with the downfall of monarchy the President fulfills this task. The crowd of excited people from performers to spectators engulfs the streets of Kathmandu during this festival. During the festival the chariots of Ganesh, Bhairav and Living Goddess Kumari are dragged on the streets of Kathmandu. People get to enjoy various religious dances like the Devinach, Majipat Lakhe, Bhairav and Bhakku and Mahakali Nach.
[The chariots of Ganesh, Bhairab and Kumari – the Living Goddess being pulled during Indra Jatra]