Kathmandu, April 7: The annual festival of Ghode Jatra, known as the Horse Racing Day which falls on the Nepali month of Chaitra, is being celebrated in the Kathmandu valley today with much gusto.
The Ghode Jatra is known as the oldest festival celebrated in the country’s cultural hub of Kathmandu valley.
The festival was being celebrated annually as per a mythology which relates the genesis of the festival after the death of a demon named Tundi. Legend has it that the demon who lived on a meadow, which is now Tundikhel, used to instigate terror among the Kathmandu denizens. After his death people rejoiced by dancing on his body by riding horses. It is a widely circulated belief that the parade of horses at Tundikhel keeps the demon’s spirit away. The faster the horses run the better Tundi’s spirit is dispelled.
As per another legend, the Ghode Jatra is held to mark the start of New Year. The festival is celebrated on the day of Krishna Aunsi, as per the lunar calendar, which is a day before the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada and this day is taken as the start of the New Year. The horse parade known religiously as Aswa Yatra is held to welcome the New Year. The day before Ghode Jatra is also known as Pichas Chaturdarshi, as per lunar calendar.
On the day, Nepal Army showcases a grade parade of its cavalry might with various games involving horses. Likewise, another event takes place at the adjacent city of Patan where a horse is intoxicated and an equally drunk person clad in traditional Newari attire rides it.
The Goddess Bhadrakali known as Lumarhi Devi for the Newar community is worshipped on this day. RSS