Biska Jatra is an annual festival celebrated in Bhaktapur, Bode, Thimi, Dhapasi, and Tokha. Biska Jatra of Thimi is commonly known as Sindur Jatra and Bode Jatra.
SINDUR JATRA OF THIMI
Sindur Jatra is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd day of Baisakh in Madhyapur Thimi. The festival welcomes the New Year with colors and joy. During the festival, the males of various parts of Thimi and neighboring villages take out 32 palanquins (Khats) carrying images of different gods. These khats are carried on the shoulders and parade up and down the streets with sindoor hurled at them. The people throw sindur at each other and dance to the beats of drums, cymbals, and dhimes. The crowd parade to the town with khats, sindur, musical instruments, and dances.
The main attraction of the festival is the Ganesh khat arriving from the village of Nagadesh. The other khats try to stop the khat of Ganesh from moving. There is a lot of pushing and pulling creating an insane amount of chaos. Amidst the push and pull, the Ganesh khat manages to move towards the Taleju Temple. The festival prolongs on how long the Ganesh Khat can be stopped from moving and the festival comes to end after the Ganesh Khat departs to Taleju Temple. The crowds then swarm to Bode to witness the tongue-boring festival.
TONGUE BORING JATRA OF BODE
The legend says that the festival was initiated almost a thousand years ago during the time of the Lichhavi Dynasty. At that time, Bode town was near the Nilbarahi forest. It is believed that the evil spirits of Nilbarahi Forest started to torment the people living in Bode and they had to migrate to the place where is present-day Bode. However, the evil spirits followed them and traumatized the people of Bode.
The people of Bode sought help from a scholar who helped them to block the four gates of town with invisible walls. Later, the evil spirit got stuck to the wall and the bode people captured the spirit and paraded him throughout the town with his tongue pierced. He was freed with the condition that he would never cause any trouble to the people.
People believe that ever since Bode is free of drought, famine, earthquake, and epidemics. The Bode Jatra is celebrated to keep the inhabitants of Bode safe from disasters and evil spirits.A one-foot-long needle is soaked in oil for almost a month and then pierced through the tongue of the volunteer. Only the locals of Bode belonging to the Shrestha family can volunteer for the Jatra. The person who volunteers needs to fast for three days before the event. It is also believed that during the ritual, the tongue should not bleed. If it does, then it spells misfortune for the community.
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