Ghode Jatra is a festival of horse parade celebrated in open wide area in Tudikhel. It is celebrated in month of Chaitra on the day of Chaitra ShuklaPakshya Eastern Lunar Calendar and falls on Mid-March in English calendar. The event is organized and performed by the Nepal Army and Police.
This year Ghode Jatra is celebrated on Chaitra 11, 2076. The horse parade, known religiously known as Aswa Yatra, is organized to welcome the New Year.
The idol of Gods Lumadi, Bhadrakali, Kankeshwari, and Bhairav are brought to Asanchowk during the day time as the main celebration and at night in Tundikhel. Actually, Godhe Jatra Falls within the festival of Pahachare, which means inviting guests in the Newari language for three days. On the occasion, eight goddesses at different Shaktipith including Kankeshwori, Bhadrakaali, and Mahankal are said to be activated through Tantrik rites.
On the first day, the people clean their surroundings and worship of Lukumahadev. In the morning, they perform Puja and some people sacrifice animals. A feast begins at Ason where palanquins (khat) are dashed against each other beside the Annapurna temple. It is regarded as a symbol of meeting sisters. In the evening, idols of goddesses are taken around the city in a khat.
Ghode Jatra is the second day, the palaquins are placed in Tundikhel and an inebriated horse is also made to run in Patan. People invite their married daughters and sisters for a grand feast on the second and third days.
Ghode Jatra has become the national festival of Nepal. It is celebrated in a very formal way in Tundikhel where a demon Tundi was killed. It is executed in an honor of victory over the demon and keep the evil spirit away. The running of horses is taken as a good omen and a very good start for the upcoming year. It believed that the galloping of horses on Ghode Jatra in Tundikhel keeps the demons spirit under the ground.
In this day Nepal army and police organized to show their skills on horse ride, cycle race and acrobatic show done by men in Tundikhel. This show is presented to honorable and renowned guests from Nepal but and public people can enter only with the pass they have.
Ghode Jatra is mainly celebrated by Newari Community for several days. In a Newari family, this day is marked with a traditional feast representative of any major celebration in their culture. The entire idea behind celebrating the festival could also be the celebration of the change in season. The celebrations assure good health by the consumption of nutritious food and time spent with closed ones makes this day all the more special.
Another event related to Ghode Jatra takes place at Bal Kumari in Patan where a horse is fed alcoholic spirits until it is intoxicated and an equally drunk person in a traditional Newari attire rides it. People shout to frighten and enrage the animal until it runs wildly with the rider clinging on to it for dear life.
- Anisha Ale