Bhaktapur, the city of marvelous art and architecture, is somehow also popular for its vibrant festivals and celebrations. There are a number of festivals that are celebrated in Bhaktapur. In fact, it’s the Kathmandu valley and the inhabitant of the place, who celebrates a new festival and cuisine each coming month.
Even though there are similarities in the name of festivals and celebrations, somewhere the rituals too, yet, the atmosphere of those different cities hits you differently. There are even some festivals that are particularly celebrated in a specific location.
For instance, the Biska Jatra of Bhaktapur. It is only celebrated in the center of the Bhaktapur Municipality. Likewise, the jatra of Machhendranath. It is annually celebrated in Lalitpur until they fail to do so. Thus, because of such specific celebrations and locations, these jatras are counted among the best festivals and celebrations of the nation.
Since we are here concerning the festivals and celebrations of Bhaktapur, we will be a little specific about them. In comparison to the other two major Newa settlements, Bhaktapur’s festivals and celebrations are more vibrant. In comparison to those cities, each festival is celebrated in a more dramatic manner. In some cases, you can even find the meaning and the legends of those festivals different from each other.
Despite these facts, here, we have presented the top 5 festivals and celebrations of Bhaktapur. With that, we hope, you come to visit Bhaktapur to celebrate these festivals with us.
- Biska Jatra
- Sindoor Jatra of Madhyapur Thimi
- Gai Jatra
- Indra Jatra
- Nava Durga Naach
Top 5 festivals and celebrations of Bhaktapur
Biska Jatra, commonly known as Bisket Jatra is the biggest celebration of Bhaktapur. It is somehow also considered the most dangerous celebration of the nation because of minor and major accidents that occurred during the celebration. There would be an insane amount of people, combining people from other cities and local denizens.
The celebration starts and continues for 8 nights and 9 days. During these days, different activities and rituals take place. It includes the worshipping of Lord Bhairavanath and Goddess Bhadrakali, Chariot pulling and colliding, rising of the Lyo Sin Dyos ( large poles-one with representations of hand and another without hand), and falling of the Lyo Sin Dyo.
These are some of the main events of the celebrations. If you also wish to witness this craziest celebration of Bhaktapur ever, visit Bhaktapur on the last day of the Nepalese New Year or the day of the Nepalese New Year. You can learn more about this festival by reading these blog postings.
Sindoor Jatra of Madhyapur Thimi
Sindoor jatra of Madhyapur Thimi also occurs during the same time as the Biska Jatra. On the very second date of Baishak (a day after the Nepalese New Year), this celebration occurs on the pathways of Madhyapur Thimi. This celebration surpasses those vibrant colors of Holi with just the vermilion powder they spread over the people.
On this festival, they just don’t smear the vermillion powder, they played the traditional musical instruments, and do processions of different gods and goddesses. They primarily celebrate this jatra to welcome spring.
Note: Sindoor literally refers to the orange vermillion power.
Gai Jatra is another craziest festivals of Bhaktapur. Although it is celebrated in both Kathmandu and Patan besides Bhaktapur, you can find one impactful crowd and significance in Bhaktapur’s Gai Jatra. Well, the actual name of this celebration is not Gai Jatra. It was rather translated from the word Sa: Paru.
It is also 7 nights and 8 days long celebration. During this time, people from different localities perform different traditional dance forms. In the evening, you can find performers performing these performances in one specific locality. The performers practice and prepare for weeks to perform them in such a locality.
Because those spots are like stages to them, where they are being judged by some officers from the Municipality. Following that, the best performance is awarded by the Municipality.
Moreover, it’s easy to remember when Gai Jatra falls. The celebration occurs once a year a day after Janai Purnima or sometimes on the same day.
Indra Jatra, in Nepal Bhasa, originally called Yenya Punhi. But, in Bhaktapur, it is rather popular as Pulu Kisi Jatra. Indra Jatra is the biggest celebration in Kathmandu where from pole erection to a procession of Kumari, and drinking Thwo coming out from Akash Bhairava is done. Besides these, there is one more event that originally follows the legends of Indra Jatra i.e, Puku Kisi Jatra.
Pulu Kisi Jatra is all about an act of a white elephant searching for his master, Lord Indra. In Bhaktapur, although all the processions are not done, the act of Pulu Kisi is dramatically presented. And, that’s the main attraction of this celebration in Bhaktapur. There are some other rituals and actions done in Bhaktapur besides the Pulu Kisi act. If you’re interested, you may learn more about Indra Jatra by reading the article below.
Nava Durga Naach
Nava Durga Naach might be the most thrilling celebration that happens in Bhaktapur. It could be the most spiritual and dramatic traditional dance that you’ll ever see in Nepal. The Nava Durga Gana who performs the dance walks casually on the streets of the Bhaktapur while putting on the masks of different deities.
The masks, if you casually look at them, it doesn’t impact you that much. But when they are worn by the dancers, they look like actual deities and a surge of fear/thrill arose inside you when they passed by you. The Nava Durga dances/acts are done in specific places at specific times of the year.
The day of Bijaya Dashami and Bhagasti respectively represent the beginning and the end of the Nava Durga Dance ceremonies.
Therefore, these were the top 5 festivals and celebrations of Bhaktapur. Each of them has its own specialty, meaning, legends, and area to be celebrated. We hope that one day you will experience all the mentioned festivals and celebrations.