Denizen of Kathmandu celebrate the festival of Indra Jatra in memory of Lord Indra, also know as the god of rain. Indra Jatra festival is also known as Yandya among Newari inhabitant of Kathmandu. Gunkamadev a Lichhavi king is attributed to have started the festival of Indra Jatra.Indra Jatra is a eight day long procession which generally falls on the month of Bhadra (August/September). First day of Indra Jatra is marked by erecting a pole with a flag on top at Hanuman Dhoka area (also known as Kathmandu Durbar Square).
This six feet long wooden ple is selected from Kavre district forest which lies on the eastern side of Kathmandu. The week long festival of Indra Jatra is very enjoyable experience as traditional dances and chariot of Goddess Kumari, Lord Ganesh and Lord Bhairav are on display and are pulled to various parts of Kathmandu city.
Indra Jatra is also known for its tradition of displaying bust of Akash Bhairav. The head of Akash Bhairav is thought to be related to Mahabharat story and some believe it to be the head of first King Yalamber.
During Indra Jatra festival, various performances and dances are on display like dances of Sawa Bhakku Bhairav from Halchowk, Lakhes from Majipat, Devi Nach and Yeravat hathi (Pulukisi) from Naradevi, Mahakali and Kathi Maka Nach from Bhaktapur. These dances take place around Hanuman Dhoka area. The Dasavatar or the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu is also staged every night.
The first day of Indra Jatra is also marked by the day to remember the family members who have passed away during past year. Small oil lamps are offered to remember the deceased members. The end of Indra Jatra festival is marked by pulling down the Linga (pole). This Linga is taken down to Bagmati and Bishnumati in Teku to be put to rest. The end of Indra Jatra festival also signals the beginning of Dashain and Tihar which is two biggest festivals in Nepal and is celebrated throughout the country with great enthusiasm.