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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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Devotees throng in Hindu shrines to observe Bala Chaturdashi

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KATHMANDU- Thousands of Hindu devotees from across the country have thronged in Pashupatinath temple and some other Hindu shrines from early morning today to pay homage to their near and dear ones, who died over the last one year, on the occasion of Bala Chaturdashi.

Families of those deceased sow the Satbeej (many different seeds) and lit lights praying for eternal peace to the deceased on this day.

In Pashupati, the devotees have observed penance the whole night from the last night and have taken the holy dips this morning to sow the seeds.

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The holy seeds of paddy, maize, wheat, barley and others are sown at Kailash, Gaurighat, Aryaghat, and Guheswori of Pashupati area, and Panchase, Galeshwor and Lord Shiva’s shrines across the country in Bala Chaturdashi that falls on Marga Krishna Chaturdashi.

As per the Hindu mythology, one’s ancestors will rest in heaven if such seeds are sown in the shrines of the Lord Shiva after lighting the lamps in their memory on the night of Marga Krishna Trayodashi.

In order to assist the devotees, the Pashupati Area Development Trust has arranged tents and other basic facilities, according to Trust’s Member Secretary Dr Pradeep Dhakal.

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