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Indra Jatra begins

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KATHMANDU — Indra Jatra, known as the biggest festival of the Kathmandu Valley, formally began on Friday with the erection of a wooden ceremonial pole (lingo) and the fluttering of a flag named after the Hindu God Indra at Hanumandhoka.

Indra Jatra, one of the biggest festivals of the Newar community, is dedicated to the god of rain and king of heaven, Indra and celebrated for eight days.

The festival formally begins with the erection of a lingo (sacred wooden pole) at Hanumandhoka in Basantapur Darbar Square.

During the celebrations, Lakhe dances are performed on the streets of Kathmandu. The dance is one of the most popular dances of Nepal with performers wearing Lakhe costume and masks.

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There are various mythical stories related to the festival. One such popular story is about Indra who came down to earth to get a special flower parijat and Karkalo (taro) for his mother, who was fasting and worshiping Goddess Basundharadevi.

Upon landing in the Kathmandu Valley, Indra is said to have intruded into a garden to pluck the special flower for his mother. But when the the garden owner found this out, he used Tantrik powers to capture Indra and tied him with ropes in public for humiliation.

Knowing her son is tied up, Indra’s mother came down to the earth and promised the garden owner that she’d provide rain for a better harvest in return for her son.

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President extends good wishes on occasion of Maghe Sankranti

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KATHMANDU— President Bidya Devi Bhandari has extended happiness, peace and prosperity to all Nepali sisters and brother at home and abroad on the occasion of the Maghi or Maghe Sankranti.

In a message issued from the Secretariat of the President, President Bhandari has expressed her confidence that this festival would strengthen social unity by promoting mutual understanding among different castes and communities of our society.

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Our festivals have contributed a lot to maintain our Nepali identity by linking geographic, cultural, ethnic and lingual diversities and such festivals have played vital role to make our country known in the global stage, President Bhandari has said in the message.

In a similar message, Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun has said that such festival enhance mutual harmony, tolerance, fraternity and unity among the Nepalis and contribute to conservation and promotion of our indigenous culture.

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