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Ghode Jatra being observed

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KATHMANDU — The annual festival of Ghode Jatra, the Horse Racing Day, which falls on the Nepali month of Chaitra, is being celebrated in the Kathmandu valley today.

The Ghode Jatra is known as the oldest festival celebrated in the country’s cultural hub of Kathmandu valley.

The festival was being celebrated annually as per a mythology which relates the genesis of the festival after the death of a demon named Tundi.

Legend has it that the demon who lived on a meadow, which is now Tundikhel, used to instigate terror among the Kathmandu denizens. After his death people rejoiced by dancing on his body by riding horses. It is a widely circulated belief that the parade of horses at Tundikhel keeps the demon’s spirit away. The faster the horses run the better Tundi’s spirit is dispelled.

As per another legend, the Ghode Jatra is held to mark the start of New Year. The festival is celebrated on the day of Krishna Aunsi, as per the lunar calendar, which is a day before the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada and this day is taken as the start of the New Year.

The horse parade known religiously as Aswa Yatra is held to welcome the New Year. The day before Ghode Jatra is also known as Pichas Chaturdarshi, as per lunar calendar.

On the day, Nepal Army showcases a grade parade of its cavalry might with various games involving horses. Likewise, another event takes place at the adjacent city of Patan where a horse is intoxicated and an equally drunk person clad in traditional Newari attire rides it.

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The Goddess Bhadrakali known as Lumarhi Devi for the Newar community is worshiped on this day.

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Devotees throng Pashupatinath on Maha Shivaratri

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KATHMANDU — Devotees from various places of the country and neighboring India have thronged Pathupatinath Temple since early Tuesday morning to offer prayers on Maha Shivaratri.

All four doors of the temple were open at 3:15 for the devotees to pay homage to Lord Shiva, said director of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) Bhola Sitaula.

ALSO READ :  Nepal Army marks 'Army Day' in Tundikhel

Arrangements have been made for the devotees to enter the main temple from three doors (a door in the south of Pingalasthan, another in the west of Jayabageshwori-Bhuvaneshwori, and the third from Mitrapark-Umakunda-Basuki), he said.

The devotees are supposed to exit from the same door they have entered, said another PADT official. Approximately 1.3 million devotees are estimated on the festival this year, he said.

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