Kathmandu: Indra Jatra, one of the most celebrated of Kathmandu, has begun with the erection of lingo (a sacred wooden pole) at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square on Saturday morning.
The erection of lingo took place at an auspicious time (6:51 am) as determined by Nepal Panchanga Nirnayak Samiti (Calendar Determination Committee), said Sandip Khanal, chief of the office to look after the durbar square.
Although the main festival is to be celebrated tomorrow (Sunday) this year, various processions and cultural performances wearing attires of various gods and goddesses have begun today itself, he said.
The lingo erection ceremony occurred after the main priest Devraj Aryal offered worship with the auspicious tunes emanating from musical instruments played by Guruju Paltan of the Nepal Army. The eight-day festival is dedicated to Lord Indra – the god of rain. Various ceremonies and processions take place during the festival and it concludes with series of ceremonies, including Lakhe Naach.
As part of the festival, the lingo brought from Bhaktapur is installed on the chariot in Hanumandhoka. The chariot procession, a major part of the festival, involves the pulling of a big chariot of Kumari and two smaller chariots of Ganesh and Bhairab along with the major areas of the city.
On Sunday, the chariot of Kumari will be pulled through the tallo tole. Likewise, the pulling of the chariots along the major areas of the city is scheduled for September 20. Toppling the lingo will take place at the auspicious time of 10:36 am on September 24.
As directed by the meeting of the stakeholders, the festival will be observed with meager participation of the people by following the health safety protocols against ongoing COVID-19, said Chief of the Guthi Sansthan Kathmandu, Hari Prasad Subedi.
It may be noted that the chariot procession was halted last year due to fear of coronavirus infection.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari is scheduled to attend the celebration and observe the main day of the festival at the Basantapur Durbar area on Sunday.