Among many other exciting Jatras (Festivals) in Kathmandu valley, Biska Jatra is celebrated with the most aplomb in the historical and cultural city Bhaktapur. This festival is celebrated by all the Bhaktapurians (people from Bhaktapur) with great pleasure and sharing joys with their relatives and friends. Historically, it is stated that the Jatra was first initiated at the time of King Jagat Jyoti Malla since the 12th century. It is the longest festival which is celebrated for 8 nights and 9 days generally lies on April month. Biska Jatra has another typical name called as Bisya Jatra. From the Newari word Bisya, “bi” represents for a giant snake and “sya” represents killed. Therefore Biska Jatra or Bisya: Jatra is a representation of the ceremony of killing a giant snake. There are many stories related to this killing of the giant snake or Bisya Jatra.
SHORT HIGHLIGHTS OF BISKA JATRA (A VIDEO):
Biska Jatra heralds the starting of Nepali new year. In Bhaktapur, this Jatra is celebrated on the 1st Baisakh according to Bikram Sambat calendar. Four days before the new year, the metallic icon of Bhairab and the Bhadrakali is brought out of the temples and they are enthroned on the respective chariots called the Bhaila Kha (Chariot) and the Nakinju kha. 6 Pujari (Nayas) and some other related persons also stay in the chariot then they are hauled by dozens of villagers in both the sides of the chariot. The creaking and swaying chariot lumbers around town, pausing for a huge tug of war between the eastern and western sides of the town. After the battle, the chariots head to Gahiti tole.
The third night of the Biska Jatra is called Syakotyako. In this night infront of Bhadrakali and Bhairav, different animals are sacrificed in the name of god. And Lyakotyako (some piece of meat) is distributed to the locals also as a Prasad. On that day, local villagers call their relatives and treat them some Sameybaji or feast as a Prasad of god Bhairav.
Yosing Thanegu Jatra is another interesting part of Biska Jatra. On the last day of the year by the evening, the Bhairab and Bhadrakali chariots are drawn toward Youshin-Khyo where the Youshin-Pole is erected by the late evening. Seasonal tunes in flutes, drums, cymbals and other musical instruments are the attractive features of the event. A mammoth crowd participates in lots of enjoyment and exclaims joy. There is one saying that all 33 crores god goddess and devils also reach here to see this Jatra on that day. The mythical belief says that the mating between the sky and the earth has made the creation possible on our planet. The rain that showers from the sky to the earth is considered the life-giving element and the earth is the creative base. And the hole in which the Yoshin-Pole is erected is the symbol of the female reproductive organ. A huge 25m high lingam(phallic symbol) is erected in the stone yoni(female genital symbol) base. Yosin is brought only from the Yosing Gaun of Nala with approx. 55 hands longer Salla tree. They are offered tantric pujas with some blood sacrifices, flowers, and coins.
In Yosing, 2 long Patah’s (Serpent shaped banners) are also displayed. It is believed that two giant snakes came out of the nostrils of a beautiful princess at midnight while sneezing and took the life of these persons whoever slept with the princess. As always the serpents were about to sting one of the youthful persons in the hot bed one night, the meticulous person killed those snakes into 8 pieces with his Tantric power. Having found the person alive and the snakes dead, the following morning, Vishwo Malla the then ruler brought the practice of hoisting two long flags on a big long wooden pole, Yosing. The banners are also known as VISHO DHOJA after VISHO MALLA. In this Patahs, we can see various tantric symbols and images of many gods also. The pole remains perpendicular to the sky and the earth for 24 hours and fallen in the evening of new Bikram era.
After the falling of Yosing Dya, people get concentrated to pull the Bhairab and the Bhadrakali chariots toward the GAHITI TOLE (section). At midnight the Bhairab and Bhadrakali chariots are collided symbolizing copulation. Here, Bhadrakali keeps passionately dashing over the Bhairab. Other gods and goddesses, too, are put on palanquins and carried around so that they may see the sights on the last days of Biska Jatra and perform some relevant Jatras at their respective toles. They do Sagun puja to all the goddess with the Bhaktapur city. And finally The Bhailakha and Nakinjukha are voluntarily drawn by the festive people with great excitement to their home place and the festivals end for that year.
At Bode village, there is a tongue-boring ceremony in which the dedicated may reserve a place in heaven. Similarly, people at Madhapur Thimi greet each other throwing Simrik powder on backdrop of traditional Newari Dhime music. It is commonly known as Sindur Jatra. Hence, the Biska Jatra is really fascinating. Everyone is welcome to this festival and can have equal enjoyment throughout the Jatra. People often call this festival with name Bisket Jatra. But Biska: Jatra is the original and traditional word. We recommend everyone to flow the originality to preserve it. We believe you can play a vital role in preserving this festival. Hence, let’s share this post and let it reach to other who do not know about this festival. Any suggestions or feedbacks are warmly welcome here.
Author: Rabindra Ghemosu
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