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    Biska Jatra: Festive Procession

    Balaram Thapa
    Balaram ThapaUpdated: Jul 10th 2023  |  Festival of Nepal

    Did you know that one of Nepal's most famous festivals is just around the corner? The Biska Jatra festival is held in Bhaktapur, Nepal. It is sometimes referred to as the "Festival of the Bisket" or the "Bisket Festival." During the Nepali New Year in April, the festival lasts nine days. The Nepali New Year is celebrated on April 14th.

    This blog will teach you everything you need to know about Biska Jatra. This blog contains history, intriguing facts, and many more things. Let's get this party started, shall we?

    Major Highlights

    • In Kathmandu Valley, you may learn about Nepal's rich culture and traditions.
    • Explore one of Nepal's oldest cities, Bhaktapur.
    • Get a chance to meet the Newari people that live in Bhaktapur.
    • Enjoy the local Newari cuisine. Don't miss out on the legendary Juju Dhau!
    • Check out the Tongue Piercing Festival, Sindoor Jatra, and Tug of War!

    Why is Biska Jatra Celebrated?

    The Biska Jatra Festival is a Nepalese yearly festival held at Bhaktapur. According to legend, a terrible serpent named Karkotaka previously terrorized the area. When a young couple stumbled onto its lair by accident, the serpent killed the man.

    The woman sought assistance from the goddess Bhadrakali, who informed the townspeople that the only way to vanquish the serpent was to sacrifice a human. Bhadrakali, on the other hand, had a strategy to use the serpent's fight against it.

    When Karkotaka came, a brave young man named Siddha volunteered to be sacrificed, and people tugged a rope connected to Siddha, drawing the serpent into the town square where it was killed. The Biska Jatra celebration was formed to honor this triumph of good over evil, with rites and customs symbolizing the triumph.

    Things To Remember

    If you are planning to attend the Biska Jatra festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal, there are a few essential items that you might want to consider carrying with you:

    • Comfortable clothing and shoes: The festival involves a lot of walking, dancing, and standing, so it’s essential to wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can handle crowds and uneven terrain.
    • Sunscreen and a hat: The festival takes place in April when the weather can be hot and sunny, so protecting yourself from the sun’s rays is essential.
    • Water bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated during the festival, so carrying a water bottle is a good idea.
    • Camera: The Biska Jatra festival is a unique cultural experience, and you might want to capture the memories with photos or videos.
    • Cash: There will be vendors selling food, drinks, and souvenirs at the festival, so it’s a good idea to carry some cash with you.
    • Respectful attitude: It’s important to remember that Biska Jatra is a religious and cultural festival, and it’s essential to respect the locals’ traditions and practices

    How is the Biska Jatra Celebrated?

    Several ceremonies and festivals line up in these 9 days of fiesta. Let’s discuss each one of these in detail.

    Raising the Two Tall Poles

    To begin, on the first day of the celebration, there are two tall poles, or "Lindos," in the town's main square. The poles are decked with colorful flags to represent the triumph of good over evil.

    It is thought that when the Lindos collapse or lie down, their adversary likewise falls or lies down. The poles are brought down, and the tug of war takes place on the last day of the festival.

    Sindoor Jatra

    Have you missed Holi? Don't worry; the orange colors can be used in the Sindoor Jatra!

    Sindoor Jatra is a two-day festival that takes place on the third day of Biska Jatra. During this event, people paint their faces with vermillion powder (sindoor) and worship to the goddess Bhairavi, who is said to safeguard the city from evil spirits.

    The Sindoor Jatra is one of the most prominent activities of Biska Jatra, and thousands of people from all around Nepal and the world attend. It is a one-of-a-kind cultural event that highlights Bhaktapur and Nepal's rich cultural heritage.

    Tug of War

    The Tug of War is not your typical tug-of-war game. The Tug of War competition pits two groups representing various sections of Bhaktapur against one another.

    On the third day of the festival, teams of men from different districts of the city compete against each other in a furious tug-of-war combat. The competition rope is over 100 meters long and constructed of hemp.

    The victorious team is thought to bring good fortune and prosperity to their neighborhood in the ensuing year. During Biska Jatra, the Tug of War tournament symbolizes unity, strength, and cultural value and is enjoyed by both residents and tourists.

    Tongue Piercing Festival  

    Last but not least is the Tongue Piercing Ceremony. It takes place on the third day of the festival and is a one-of-a-kind and powerful cultural experience. But who can carry out this ritual?

    This ritual is only open to Bode residents of the Shrestha clan. The Bode spends the entire day patrolling the city with an iron spike piercing their Tongue and many burning torches called Mahadip on their shoulder.

    This practice, according to local beliefs, provides good luck to the city and assures the gods' favor. It is expected that this act will result in no drought, excessive rain, food shortages, or sicknesses in the city.


    This brings us to the end of our blog about Biska Jatra. We hope you found the blog interesting!

    Share this blog with your friends and family so they can attend the festival in April.

    PC: Devendra Shahi

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