Bisket Jatra Festival of Nepal (BISKA JATRA)
Among various famous festivals of Nepal, Bisket Jatra is also one of them. It is a most important annual festival celebrated in Bhaktapur, in the month of April, on the first day of Nepali month (Baisakh). It is nine days festival that signifies the end of a year, and the start of a new year as per the Bikram Sambat calendar.
The word “Bisket” is derived from Newari words “Bi” and “Syaku” which means “snake laughter”. The festival is believed to have begun from Lichhavi period, and the legend has it that it is the celebration after the death of the serpent. Further, the festival is the social delight, full of rejoicing events and shows. The most attractive part of this Jatra is the pulling of the chariots of two deities, the god Bhairab and goddess Bhadrakali. Along with this, the lingo (wooden pole) which has two flags fluttering at the top of it, which represents the snake is also erected on this day.
Moreover, the annual festival carries cultural, spiritual and historical significance. There has been many of the stories and myths in regard to the celebration of Bisket Jatra. For instance, Bhaktapur is an agricultural place, so many local people worship the lingo and idolize the snake, with a belief that worshipping snakes would be fruitful for agriculture, as reptiles are connected to the rain and water.
Nevertheless, it is a festival full of energy and religious impacts. Thousands of visitors involve witnessing the celebration, of the beginning of the new year, to pay respect and their devotion towards the God, with faith that anyone who visits the chariots and the deities lives a prosperous and happy life. In addition, like any other Newari festival, this one also provides the musical and the visual retreat. The local Newari people are dressed in their traditional wear, and play various traditional tunes with woodwinds, drums, cymbals, and other instruments.
Thus, Bisket Jatra is simply an inspiring and unifying event that provides a purpose to the people to share their religious devotion and the cultural and spiritual exultation in a communal manner. All in all, it is a perfect celebration that signifies the beginning of the New Year, by exploring the historical and the cultural artifacts of the Newari tradition in Nepal (Bhaktapur).