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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.

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

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NAC aims to bring more tourists

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KATHMANDU — Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier which bought two wide-body aircrafts — is exploring new destinations in Europe, North America and South East Asia to bring in more tourists to the country.

The NAC, with the new destinations, expects to increase its business and carry 400,000 tourists on board the NAC planes to Nepal every year.

The NAC’s move is expected to serve largely for the government’s announcement to mark 2020 as Nepal Visit Year.

The NAC is also planning to procure narrow-body planes that would make regional flights while the wide-body planes would fly to the new international destinations.

For the new destinations, the NAC has appointed issue manager.

With the agreement, the NAC planes would make flights to 14 destinations in a week. If things go as planned, the NAC planes would fly to Narita and Tokyo in Japan, easing the tourists visiting Nepal from there.

After getting approval from Japan and South Korea for flights, the inclusion in the significant safety concern list by the EU to Nepal would remove automatically while the flights to South Korea shall open up the golden door for Nepal Airlines.

South Korea is regarded as the safest country in the world in terms of civil aviation. Likewise, the ICAO has already removed Nepal from its blacklist.

Furthermore, the NAC is preparing to operate flights to bring in tourists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has directed the NAC for announcing new business plans by targeting the Indian and Chinese tourists, realizing the crucial role of the national flag carrier to make the Nepal Visit Year 2020 a success.

“Top priority has been given to the NAC as it is the major basis to bring in tourists,” Minister Adhikari shared.

Likewise, Minister Adhikari shared that expansion of services and facilities of the Tribhuvan International Airport has been prioritized.

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