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The Built Culture > All Posts > Notice and Events > Webinars > Yenn Yaa Indra Jatra: A Ritual of Kathmandu Valley

Yenn Yaa Indra Jatra: A Ritual of Kathmandu Valley

tbculture 04 May 2022

Intangible culture, tradition, philosophy, myths and rituals are often under shadowed, over looked and treated far from tangible culture and architecture. Being part of the society and architecture, both tangible and intangible norms are to taken care of. Keeping it as core ideas, on the date of Sep 23, 2021, SCSR organized a heritage walk. Heritage walks, are best way to learn and recognize our architectural heritage along with the intangible aspects such as culture, tradition, philosophy, myths and rituals associated with them. SCSR organized the walk during the auspicious occasion of Yen Yaa (IndraJatra), which is the largest and most colorful street festival of Kathmandu valley. Yen means Kathmandu and Yaa means celebration, together it means celebration inside Kathmandu in Nepal Bhasa. The celebrations consist of two events, Indra Jatra and Kumari Jatra. Indra Jatra is marked by masked dances of deities and demons, displays of sacred images and tableaus in honor of the deity Indra , the king of heaven. KumariJatra is the chariot procession of the living goddess Kumari. It is during Jatra the true meaning and importance of various public spaces like streets, courtyard, nodes, dabu (dabali) came to the fore, spaces which are often neglected or encroached upon during other times.

The Heritage walk was conducted in the inner city core of Kathmandu. The walk was conducted in early morning as least crowd is expected at that time and total duration of  walk was about one hour. The walk was guided by Ar. Alina Tamrakar who is an architect by education and heritage enthusiast by passion.

The first spot of the walk was at Maru, where the idol of Indra was placed high above the ground. The second spot of the walk was at a Dabali at Jaisidega. A Dabali is usually hidden behind the chaotic life but during this festival, it comes to life. It becomes a hub of celebration, a junction of colors with a tune of festivity. Story of this place sings about the victory of Kumari when Bairab and Datya had a long war. Goddess Kumari’s victory is sang, played and performed in this platform. People dress up as Kumari bhairab, demons and all characters to show the story. The third spot was Lakhe Nani, a courtyard with the home of Lakhe, believed to be the peace loving incarnation of Lord Bhairava. The famous Lakhe dance is performed at Lakhe Nani before taking out for procession in the city. The fourth spot was in front of Swet Bhairava at Hanumandhoka palace. The particular embellishment of Lord Bhairab is shown to the public only during the occasion of Indra Jatra. The fifth spot is at Indra Chowk where the idol Lord Indra and Aakash Bhairava is displayed. The fifth spot is at Kilaghal, where the home of Pulukisi (believed to be white elephant Airavata of Lord Indra) is located. The sixth and final spot of the walk was at Bangemuda. As the name suggests, the place has a strong wooden long column erecting from the ground. The spot acts as a mandap for the Jatra and Mahakali dance, a very special form of dance is performed in this platform.

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