Indra Jatra, the biggest street festival or jatra begun from today by the installation of a wooden ceremonial pole called Yosin Thanegu at an auspicious hour of 9:30 am on Tuesday.
Kumari Jatra, which means the chariot festival of Kumari, coincides with Indra Jatra. It was started in 1756 AD during the reign of Jaya prakash Malla. The chariot of Kumari is pulled around the Kathmandu to bless the city and their citizens through her presence and blessings.
Indra Jatra known as Yenya in Nepal Bhasa is celebrated for eight days. The festival today started with erection of the Yosin Thanegu, a wooden pole in-front of Kathmandu Durbar Square. The wooden pole is prepared from a wood brought from the forest of Nala, a small town 29 km to the east of Kathmandu. The celebrations last for eight days from the 12th day of the bright fortnight to the 4th day of the dark fortnight, the eleventh month in the lunar Nepal Era calendar.
Belief and myths of Indra Jatra:
Indra Jatra, or Yenya, commemorates the descent of a god from heaven dressed in peasant's clothes and bent on a very human pursuit: stealing flowers. The deity concerned was no ordinary god. He was Indra, the Lord of Heaven and rain.
Indra's mother needed parijat, a type of flower, for some religious ritual so Indra disguised as a human being came to the earth to fetch them. People were appalled and immediately released him when they realized they had captured Indra himself. Out of appreciation for his release, his mother promised to provide enough dew throughout the winter to ensure a rich crop. It is said that Kathmandu starts to experience foggy mornings from this festival onwards because of this boon.
Some believe Indra Jatra is thanking day to lord Indra for the rain. According to others, the festival is celebrated in the honor of Bahirab, who is Shiva's manifestation and is believed to destroy evil.