Saturday Features

Kathmandu renewed

- Sanjog Manandhar, Kathmandu

Sep 16, 2017-

Yenya Punhi might be popularly known as the Indra Jatra but in doing so the festival is boxed into one single dimension. The Jatra after all is not just about the “King of Heaven” being arrested in the Valley on charges of thievery.

Eat, drink, be merry. A devotee drinks alcohol from the Sweta Bhairav Temple. 

Nor is it limited to the chariot processions that weave through the old town. Yenya Punhi literally translates into the “Festival of Kathmandu” and beyond just celebrating the founding of the city and marking its annual spiritual renewal, the festival also

Lakhe Aju performs a ritual dance at Lakhe Nani.  

allows one to trace the evolution of the city through the millennia; peel back the layers of how different influences have come to shape the city we know and live in today. 

Sweta Bhairav gets a bath right before the festivities. 

Take for instance the hoisting of the Yosin—a large wooden pole that has for better or worse come to be associated as a lingo. The tradition predates the importation of Hinduism in the Valley, and is a remnant of animistic beliefs held not just in Kathmandu but around the world.

Devotees try to get hold of offerings being flung out into the crowd from chariots. Kasthamandap Temple. 

Or how the fearsome Majipa Lakhey and the playful Jhyalincha dancing in step with the Pulu Kisi sees many different mythologies carved out in different eras coexisting in one shared space.

Every year, the jatra sees a massive turnout of local and foreign observers alike. Basantapur Dubar Square. 

Yenya Punhi is not just commemorating this deity or that. It is the celebration of Kathmandu as for what it is—the original melting pot. The spread captures the revelry from this year’s celebrations. 

An elderly man pays quiet respect to the chariot of the living goddess Kumari before it hits the streets. Basantapur Dubar Square. 

By god’s grace. A young caretaker of the temple engages with her gadget. 


Gurjus, Buddhist Newar priests, grace the jatra on the third day of the festival. Basantapur Durbar Square.

Published: 16-09-2017 12:03

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