The Festival Lights of Indra Jatra

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Photos from Indra Jatraa festival in Nepal that fell this year on September 18.   During Indra Jatra, thousands of people in Kathmandu pay homage to the Kumari Devi (Living Goddess).

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Offerings of thanks. (The swastika is an ancient Hindu symbol used to signify good fortune. The name comes the Sanskrit word svasti (sv = well; asti = is), meaning good fortune, luck and well-being.)

Some say that Indra Jatra is the day to give thanks to the lord Indra for the rain.  Or, depending on who you ask, it is a day to give thanks to the lord Indra for the end of the rainy season.

Ceremonial rice wine dispenser. Can you see the full moon in the background?

According to others, the festival is celebrated in the honor of Bahirab, who is Shiva‘s manifestation and is believed to destroy evil.

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No matter how you interpret the meaning of the festival, it is a beautiful celebration of traditional Nepali dance, music, and food.  The festival lights of Indra Jatra lit up the dark Kathmandu night!

This post is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

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16 thoughts on “The Festival Lights of Indra Jatra

  1. The colors, decorations, and costumes are hauntingly beautiful. That food swastika in the second picture reminds me of the first time I saw one of them in Bali. It stopped me in my tracks, even though I remembered immediately that it was a spiritual sign rather than what it got turned into during the Third Reich.

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    1. Yes, the name comes the Sanskrit word svasti (sv = well; asti = is), meaning good fortune, luck and well-being. I’ve also read that some interpret the symbol to mean as “May Good Prevail”. The symbol is almost always used on festival days. (“Aryan” is also derived from a Sanskrit word that means “noble”.) It’s so outrageous that the Nazis thought they could co-opt sacred religious symbols that have been in use for millennia! Coming from the West, however, it is always a shock at first for me to see the symbol in use in the way it has been for thousands of years. Thanks for your comment, Jo!

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Everyone has the right to an opinion and I'd love to hear yours! While comments are very welcome, they will be moderated. My kids read this blog, too!

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