The jatra commences after a special Tantric ritual in th Bhairab temple in Taumadhi Tole in Bhaktapur.
Bhairav and Bhadrakali are then placed in large chariots (locally known as Rathas) and pulled through crowds of cheering onlookers. During the festival people replay a drama passed on over the centuries. The chariots, pause for a tuge of war between the easterna and western sides of town and then move down a steep road leading to a river, where a 25-m high lingam (vertical pole) is erected. In the evening the following day, the pole is pulled down, again in a tug of war and as the pole crashes as the official new year commences.
Bisket Jatra is also celebrated in Thimi and Balakhu with Jibro Chhedne Jatra and Sindoor Jatra respectively. The festivities conclude with several days of spiritual entrancement, dancing and merry-making.
The eight-day long Indra Jatra festival falls in September and is one of the most exciting and revered festivals of the Newar community of the Kathmandu Valley. This also marks the beginning of a month-long festival season of autumn. It begins with the erection of a wooden pole made of pine at Basantapur Sqaure in front of the old Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
For the pole-raising ceremony, hundreds of spectators gather at the Palace Square and on the surrounding temples. The chariot of Kumari, the Living Goddess, is taken out in a procession through the main streets of Kathmandu.
Masked dancers known as Lakhay take to the streets almost every evening accompanied by loud drums. The festival commemorates the time when Indra came down from heaven in human form to look for an herb.
Each night of Indra Jatra the shrines and ancient palace buildings around Kathmandu Durbar Square are aglow with oil wicks. Each night on the platform in front of the temple of the Living Goddess, there is an enactment depicting the ten earthly incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The large image of Akash Bhairab's head is put on display out in the open directly facing his temple at Indra Chowk.
In the afternoon of the day before full moon, ecstatic mobs gather near Hanuman Dhoka Palace for the long-awaited Living Goddess’ chariot procession to catch a glimpse of the revered little Newar girl who has been deified as Kumari representing Goddess Taleju.
The chariot of the Kumari followed by two other smaller chariots carrying a representative of Ganesh and Bhairav is taken to different parts of the old Kathmandu through the narrow alleys where people gather to watch and py homage. The festival of Indra Jatra ends with the lowering of the (lingam) pole bearing Indra's flag amidst religious ceremonies.
Gai Jatra easily ranks high as one of the most popular of all Nepal’s festivals. It is connected with the worship of Yamaraj, considered the god of death. But oddly enough, it is also a time of comedy and, of all things, an annual cow parade.
While Gai Jatra has been celebrated in Nepal since ancient times, the modern version of it dates from Medieval times. A king Pratap Malla had recently lost his young son, and his wife was deeply saddened. After her misery continued for some time and no one could cheer her, the king announced that whoever could make the queen laugh or smile would be greatly rewarded.
A cow parade, along with dancers and costumed comedians ultimately got the queen to smile. From then on, an annual cow procession became traditional for Gai Jatra.