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Kumari Jatra

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kumari-jatra

Kumari Jatra

You would probably know about Indra Jatra. If not, you are requested to visit this article. Well, Kumari Jatra is a Chariot pulling festival which is celebrated with great zeal, joy, and energy that is said to be introduced in 1756 by King Jaya Prakash Malla. It is an event or a fest that comes during Indra Jatra. It has a lot of significance in Newari as well as Nepali culture because Goddess Kumari is only the living goddess of Nepal.

Literally, Goddess Kumari is a young virgin Newar girl with no pockmark represents the Goddess Kumari. The actual meaning of Kumari is “a female virgin “and that is why a young virgin girl selected as Kumari. Therefore, it is also said that Kumari Jatra is the worship of purity and sacredness of women.

As mentioned already, the festival is a Chariot pulling festival which is celebrated for three days. The three days are nomenclated as Kwaneya, Yenya Punhi (full moon night) or Thaneya and Nanechaya respectively. Each day the chariot pulling ceremony starts from Basantapur, after that, it is pulled to different parts and again back to Basantapur at the end of the day. 

In the first day, the chariot is pulled through the south whereas on the second day it is pulled towards the north. In the third day, the chariot is pulled through the central parts of Kilagal. Besides, the beautiful Lakhey dance is also held along with the display of mask of furious Bhairava and games are held for an immense chord of joy and recreation.

You would be surprised to know the legend of Kumari Jatra as it has multiple legends which is also related to politics. According to one of the legends, it is believed that while playing dice he looked goddess Taleju Bhawani in a lascivious manner which consequently offended goddess and she told him to search for her in the form of a virgin girl as she was angry and went. In later days, during the king was in the hunt, he found a girl laughing at him and realized that she was goddess Taleju Bhawani. Thus, Kumari Jatra was ordered to be celebrated in later days.

Similarly, other legends directly relate to politics. It is written on history that King Jaya Prakash Malla was dethroned by his own son. Therefore, he wanted to regain his Kingship. As a result, he went to goddess Guheswori which is one of the manifestations of Kumari and started to please her. He was succeeded in doing this and was awarded a powerful sword which helped him to regain his Kingship. So, in order to make her more pleased, he started celebrating Kumari Jatra as a very important culture of Kathmandu.

Do you know that goddess Kumari is only the living god of Nepal? This festival is very important for us because it shows our identity and also Cultural diversity. The festival really has shown the nature of unity and diversity among the people of Nepal. The typical Newari culture is freely accepted by everyone in Kathmandu and each citizen is enthusiastically involved in the celebration of the festival as well as observation and its conservation. 

Besides the typical kind of celebration also attracts tourists a lot. Many tourists visit Kathmandu valley for the sole purpose of observing the festival only. Also, many alluring offers and discounts are available on different items in the market which also increases the flow of money in the market. 

It also provides a break for the busy schedule people and provides some time for refreshment and recreation. As it falls in the month of August or September i.e. autumn, a clear view of mountain ranges is seen in the sky which definitely allures the mind and feels if any person and gives an enormous amount of recreation and joy.

Kumari Jatra has a very positive impact on society but also some activities directly support gender discrimination. The virgin girl, selected as Kumari has to live a very isolated life. She is bounded by religious rules and values. She is deprived of human rights such as marriage and sex. 

In the past, some years the selection of goddess Kumari has also been one of the social problems as not only during Kumari Jatra but also in many gumbos and Chaityas, Kumari is present who have to spend their life with full isolation and tears of Sadness. However, she is worshipped and respected by everyone. She is not deprived of any kind of nutritious food she needs, good shelter and clothes along with social security and health facilities.

Therefore, Kumari Jatra is an awesome festival that must be observed by every person once in their life.
Authored by Shlok Koirala for Hamro Library

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