The United Newah USA recently organized the celebration of Indra Jatra on Sept 25, 2016, in Texas. With an amazing number of people turning up to evoke their memories of Nepal, me and my friends were no exceptions. There we were, full of excitement to witness the Indra Jatra celebration in the United States.
Indra Jatra, or more commonly known as Yenya (Nepal Bhasa: येँयाः), is celebrated in honor of the god of rain also known as the king of heaven. As per the legend, Indra disguised himself as a farmer and descended to Earth in search of Parijat, a flower required by his mother to perform a ritual. While on his mission, he was caught plucking the flower at a water sprout and deemed a thief and put up for display in Maru, one of the town squares of Kathmandu. Like all mothers, his mother ended up being worried when he wasn’t back for quite some time. She came down to Kathmandu looking for him. When the people of Kathmandu realized that it was Indra who had been captured, they quickly released him. His mother, happy at the people for releasing her son, promised the town folk enough dew for their crops to ensure rich crops throughout the winter. The foggy mornings from this day on is considered to be the result of this very boon.
Back at home I used to stand behind my mom in the narrow alleys of Indra Chowk to see all the acts but this time it was different. No pushing crowds, no pickpockets (you will definitely understand me if you have been to Indra Jatra in Nepal) just me, my friends and a lot of Nepali crowd.
The event kicked off at around noon with the erection of Yosin or Linga, a pole from which the banner of Indra is unfurled. There were women in beautiful newari dress who made a huge pyramid of Samay Baji . The newari band with their traditional instrument played the customary Maalshree Dhun also known as Dashain Dhun which gave us a major Dashian vibe which made me realize how much I missed home during this festive season. We could see Pulukishi coming our way, a white elephant mascot that comes and creates a havoc, in the audiences. According to myth, Pulukishi is Indra’s pet and he comes to Kathmandu in search of Indra.
One might say, without Kumari, the living goddess, Indra Jatra is incomplete. And indeed it is true. But guess what, we had Kumari too. Well not the original Kumari, as at that time she might be in her palace in Kathmandu probably sleeping, we had a little kid dressed as a Kumari who in my opinion was portrayed as a perfect Kumari. Even though she was not a real Kumari, people still came to her, worshiped her and took a lot of selfies.
This event had everything, from Lakhe Nach to momos, children games, cultural programs, Pulu-Kisi Dance and not to forget performances by two most talented Nepali singers Nima Rumba and Nalina Chitrakar who forced audiences to jump out of their seats and dance along their songs.It was like all of Texas had come together to keep the culture alive.
We did experience little pouring early in the day which was quite challenging but hey, we’re Nepali and we’re always up for a challenge! And guess what, even though the weather challenged every Nepali attending this event in the beginning, no one seem to be bothered the slightest. Instead there were more people coming as the event went on, much more than expected. Everyone were together sharing Samya Baji and capturing each other in the frames of their iPhones.
Everything was arranged very well and the event ended up becoming a near-perfect experience, just as it would have been back home. The organizers sure did a splendid job, and kudos to them.
And if you are reading this, then you might have already gotten the idea that Nepali events can be equally amazing in this foreign land, we just need to be together celebrating them. Because together, we can make a difference. Always.
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Blog :- Aayusha Thapa
Photographer :- Ujjwal Singh
Editor :- Dipesh Barahi