Ghode Jatra is a unique festival of horse racing celebrated in Nepal.”Ghode” means horse and “Jatra” means parade. The festival falls on the month of Chaitra i.e. between March and April. Though this is the only such Nepali festival which doesn’t have many religious ceremonies, it does have some significant importance in Newari society.
They celebrate it for several days by taking idols of the gods in their area in portable chariots. The most of the Newar prepare feasts in their houses by inviting their near and dear ones. It is also believed that a demon called “Gurumumpa” is propitiated at this time in Tundikhel in Kathmandu.
The other aspects of Ghode Jatra are celebrated with the function organized by Royal Nepalese Army at Tundikhel in the afternoon. Horse race, athletics and acrobatics are performed in the presence of many important people of the nation. The worshiping of goddess Bhadrakali, Kankeshwari and lord Bhairav takes place during the day time at the main celebration at Ason.
Another event takes place on Ghode Jatra at Bal Kumari area in Patan where a horse is intoxicated with spirits and an equally drunk person in a traditional Newari attire rides it. People shout to frighten and enrage the animal until it runs widely with the rider clinging to it. This race is thought to have been commenced in the olden times by a certain king of Patan to give a better show in comparison to Tundikhel’s parade, as in those days no one from Patan could attain it.
Though many festivals are celebrated in Nepal almost every month, it has always united the people for the religious tolerance by celebrating such different cultural festivals.
Learn more about other festivals celebrated in Nepal:
- Dashain and Tihar (Greatest festival of Nepalese)
- Saraswati Puja- The day for the diety of knowledge, art and music
- Maha Shivaratri- The Night of Lord Shiva
- What you need to know about Tihar?
- The Great Hindu Festival “Teej”
- Festival of Nepal- Indra Jatra
- Sonam Lhosar:The Festival of Tamang
- Tamu Lhosar: The greatest festival of Gurung
- Gai Jatra- A Nepali Festival