Monday, April 25, 2016

The Bisket Jatra

One of the most a colourful Jatra which celebrates in ancient city of Bhaktapur 18 kilometer far from Kathmandu. The Bisket Jatra, which marks the end of the Nepali month of Chaitra and the beginning of a New Nepali  Year in Baisakh, welcomes one and all in and around Bhaktapur and beyond its boundaries
This Bisket Jatra is famous because of  ‘tongue piercing' and the festival is celebrated with much pomp and fanfare A volunteer from the Shrestha family gets his tongue pierced in a spiritual trance with an iron spike and walks around the town shouldering a round bamboo rack with flaming torches. tongue piercing ceremony that takes place during the chariot procession. It is believed that the successful completion of this painful rite brings good fortune to the villagers & the volunteer himself.

The famous festival, which is observed for eight nights and nine days,  according to historical records  it  has been marked since the Lichchhivi era (c. 450-c. 750), The Jatra  started worshiping Bhairabi temple nearby Paanchtale temple in Taumadi .

During the festival, a chariot procession is held in Bhaktapur and images of Ganesh, Lakshmi and Mahakali are carried around town.
The Bisket Jatra marks a cultural ecstasy in Bhaktapur. Prominently observed at the adventof spring, it is a festival of human emotions that are symbolically depicted through the multiple aspects of the festival.The central point of folklore, as it goes, is about the slaughtering of a pair of snakes by a handsome young man bestowed with tantric powers.It is said that the two serpents came out of the nostrils of a beautiful princess when she sneezed at midnight. In the twinkling of an eye, they transformed into huge serpents. When they were about to strike the young man, he killed them, using his tantric powers.

Having found the youth alive and the serpents dead, Bishwo Malla, the then ruler of Bhaktapur,
According to mythical beliefs, Bhairab and Bhadrakali are the divine male and female forms of the firmament and the Earth, respectively. It is said that the conjugation of the sky and the earth made creation possible on our planet. The rain that showers from the sky on earth is considered the life-giving element, while the earth is the foundation of creation. The hole in which the Yoshin is erected is the symbol of the female creative organ, Guheshwori. introduced the practice of hoisting two long flags on wooden poles, designed after the shapes of the killed serpents. The long poles were addressed as Yoshin, more popular as phallic symbols among the locals today. The banners are also known as ‘Bishwo dhoja’ after the king. The hoisting of these flags is observed annually with much enthusiasm.

The Bisket Jatra is also a celebration of this joining of Bhairab and Bhadrakali who are addressed as Bhaila Deo and Nakinju Ajima in the local dialect. Metallic idols of the deities are brought out of the temples four days prior to the erection of the Yoshin in separate chariots called Bhaila Kha and Nakinju Kha. The chariots are voluntarily drawn by festive people. Therefore, the concept of the Jatra is essentially based on conjugality, creation, and continuity of life.

Two different poles are erected during the Jatra. One of the poles possesses two extended arms while the other has none. The Yoshin without arms is erected a day earlier than the one with arms, and is put up at the Potters Square in the morning hours.

The Yoshin with arms is erected in late evening on the eve of the Nepali new year. The huge crowd gathered for the occasion sings songs of joy during the procession.
Energetic youths attempt to climb the pole, using big ropes in order to get hold of the plants placed at its top. Anyone who is able to do so, it is believed, will increase his chances of siring a male child.
The pole is positioned perpendicularly to the sky and the earth for 24 hours. The event is followed by a big feast all over Bhaktapur.
The dawn of the New Year is a joyous moment for all Bhaktapurians. Many of them assemble on the Yoshin Khel in the early hours of the morning, paying homage and making sacrifices to Bhairab and Bhadrakali up until midday. The cheerful atmosphere and the festive gala signify the advent of a new Bikram year.

The Yoshin is taken down in the evening of the New Year. Tunes are played with flutes, drums, cymbals and other musical instruments, and accompanied by singing every now and then. After the Yoshin is laid to the ground, people come together to pull the chariots towards Gahiti—one of the toles in town.

At midnight, the Bhairab and Bhadrakali chariots are brought together, symbolizing copulation. But this time, the Bhairab chariot does not move a single inch. It is the Bhadrakali vehicle which keeps dashing passionately over to Bhairab at midnight.

The wholesomeness of the Jatra makes it a dynamic living heritage of Shangri-La for all those who love culture.