Here, we have come up with a lush of unplugged stories, discovering the charm of this forbidden city, Bhaktapur. The very first story of this series is of the dramatic festival, bisket jatra. The Bisket jatra or biska jatra is a precious fortune of Bhaktapur. That is commemorated in Bhaktapur, Dhapasi, Thimi, and Tokha.
The locals enjoy it with the same spirits and joy, of course, every year. This jatra holds cultural and historical significance. So, people, count it as an idolize festival. By some means, this event is directly linked to the royal palace. And said to be an external expression of tantric ritual.
Beginning of the biska jatra
Being the largest ritual of Bhaktapur, it is also studied as chyacha gunhuya jatra, which avenues eight-night and nine days jatra. Yes, this jatra is celebrated for eight nights and nine days, where the very first day of the jatra i.e five days before the Nepalese new year begins with the Ratha-yatra.
The raths are the Nepalese symbolization of chariots. Respectively, the chariots crowned with lord bhairava of bhairavanath temple and goddess Bhadra kali are trailed on the streets as the inception of the jatra.
This incepting festival is called kohanbijyayegu in the Newari tongue, which means descending or coming down. The chariot festival take-ups when a man holding the royal sword, a symbol of the king sits on the chariot. The chariot is trailed by a bunch of devotees down to the khalna tole, a place where this bisket roam all around.
Sunyadin and syakotyako
The following day goes on with a regular pooja. That’s why it is called sunyadin ( the day without any significant ritual). Similarly, the third day is considered as syakotyako, which means one can sacrifice animals or fowls as many as one can, where a big buffalo is sacrificed in the house of bhairava of Lakaulachhen tole.
The erection of lyo sin dyo
The day which indicates the termination of the year is the fourth day of the festival where, lyo sin dyo or lingo, a sky-high unbending pole is erected in khalna tole and pottery square. The khalna tole is popular as lashin Khel among locals.
Just to catch that sight of the erection of that lingo, thousands of people gather at that place. Along with the erection of lingo on a stone base, the jatra of goddess dumaju was performed at taleju square at the midnight, which was named after koluvayata during the Malla periods.
The day of biska jatra
You can also perceive the craze of people for this festival on the Nepalese new year and the fifth day of the bisket jatra. This day is also preferred as vaishaka sakranti, Mesha sakranti, or bisket sakranti.
While this day is counted as the very first day of the new year of Bikram sambat, but the fact is that this biska jatra has no relation with the Nepalese new year. This festival is all about the culture of newar people.
This is the day when the erected lyo sin dyo of khalna tole is laid down. Somehow, this process of lying the lingo down is well known as the satruhanta jatra. Which means the festival of killing the enemy. It’s a common belief that whoever sees the lingo lying down to the earth, their enemy also meets the fall.
Besides the fall of lingo, you can see the line of devotees waiting for their turn to worship on lashin Khel, where the mesmerizing classical music of Newari communities seized positive energy within you. On the same day, the chariots of bhairava, Bhadra kali, and dumaju are also drawn.
An anecdote about the jatra
It is said that this jatra was started by King Jagat Jyoti Malla because he was so inspired by the story of serpents. According to this, a cursed princess became a widow the next day after her marriage. The man who gets married to her is found dead the next early.
In this environment, a prince with tantric power came and got a knot out with the princess. He stood awake that night and consequently, found something very suspicious about the princess. The two serpents steadily came out from the nostrils of the princess.
The prince sprightly cut them down into pieces with his sword as soon as he saw them crawling. This is how the curse was cured.
To celebrate this victory against those serpents, the celebration of bisket jatra is commenced and named after bisya jatra, where bi refers to a giant snake, and sya refers to kill. Later on, it is transmogrified into bisket jatra.
The Malla kings had heightened up the importance of bisket jatra by adding a chariot festival and other jatras to this event. As an upshot, the children are worshipped as well as Mahalaxmi and Mahakali jatras are celebrated on the sixth day of the jatra.
The seventh and eighth day
The seventh day of the festival is noticeable with the brahmayani and Maheshwari jatras. Along with that, Bhaktapur worships all the local deities and decorate temples on that day.
With the same perspective, on the eight-day i.e. the fourth day of the new year, the paintings of deities are shown publically as well as worship. While the locals and pujari kept out those deities from their residences.
Ending of the biska jatra
The last and ninth day of the festival is the day of the deities. Pujaris place all the deities at their place including bhairava and Bhadra kali. Whereas the lyo sin dyo erected in pottery square is lied down on this day. To stipulate the end of the jatra.
This is how people celebrate the nine-day long jatra. This traditional at the same time a unique festival is a very special event for the residents of Bhaktapur.