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Bisket Jatra begins in Bhaktapur

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BHAKTAPUR – The historic  Bisket Jatra began in Bhaktapur today, flagging that the New Year according to the Nepali calendar is on the horizon.

The annual festival with a tantric significance is believed to have begun in the Lichhavi era.

Priest Ganesh Karmacharya offered prayers to Bhairavnath deity following which the deity was worshipped in all streets of the ancient city until 8 am today. The Bhairavnath and Bhadrakali deities will be placed in their respective chariots in the afternoon following different phases of worship and offerings, after which the chariots will be towed by devotees.

The Bisket Jatra which starts four days before the Nepali New Year lasts for five more days afterwards. It is hence celebrated for eight nights by the locals of Bhaktapur.

The first day will see the chariot of Bhairavnath being pulled by devotees which continues in the coming days.

The police administration has tightened the security for the festival.

A total of 2,000 security personnel from Nepal Police and Armed Police Force (APF) including those in plain clothes will beef up the security, according to Superintendent of Police, Kiran Bajracharya.

The intersections within the city have been fitted with CCTVs to watch anyone involving in untoward activities.

The chariot’s pathway has been punctuated by old houses standing with the support of poles following damages in the massive earthquake of April 25, 2015 – due to which the chariot pulling route has been shortened.

Guthi Sansthan Bhaktapur Chief, Leknath Sapkota, said a total of Rs 2.6 million would be spent for the festival.

The famous lingo (wooden pole) with the God Indra’s flag fluttering at the top end will be erected on April 12 and felled next day.

It is believed that witnessing the Jatra, which is also called Satruhanta Jatra, will rid one of enemies.

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Tourist arrivals jumped 73.5 percent in July

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KATHMANDU — Tourist arrivals to Nepal jumped 73.5 percent in the month of July, according to statistics released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The NTB said that this increment is because of a sharp increase in the number of travellers from countries like India, China, the US and the UK. The growth in the numbers has also been attributed to Indian pilgrims visiting Mount Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, via Nepal.

The statistics show that Nepal received a whopping 73,285 international tourists in July—a time of the year that is considered to be an off-season for tourists due to the monsoons. With July’s figures, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the first seven months (January–July) of 2018 reached 593,299, which is an increase of 18 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Total 18,385 Indian tourists visited Nepal via air transport, which is up 80.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

After India, Nepal received the highest number of visitors from China. The Chinese tourist numbers have more than doubled to 13,123 in the month of July. This is a 125.4 percent growth in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

Overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a growth of 66 percent, in comparison to the same month last year. However, arrivals from Bangladesh declined by nine percent. Arrivals from rest of the Asian countries have also recorded a robust growth of 86.2 percent.

Visitors from Japan and South Korea to Nepal also increased by 36 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.

Likewise, an overall increase of 54.1 percent in July has been recorded from European source markets. However, arrivals from Austria declined by 72.6 percent.

The number of visitors from the US and Canada have also grown by 79.6 percent and 73.3 percent respectively.

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