Ghode Jatra | Horse Parade Event in Kathmandu
Ghode Jatra is a national event or festival held in Tundikhel, Kathmandu as a symbol of good triumphing over evil.
The three days long festival, Ghode Jatra is the national festival which translates to “horse parade”. The main day of this festival falls on the new moon of Chaitra Shukla Paksha in March or April.
Nepali Sainik celebrate this festival on the ground of Tundikhel in Kathmandu. Also, Newari people of Kathmandu celebrate this festival. Ghode Jatra is considered a victory over the demon Gurumapa, who was killed by a herd of horses. To this day, people believe that 'the stronger the sound of horse hooves is, the quicker the demon will run away'.
Celebration of Ghode Jatra
Ghode Jatra is a three days long festival for Newari people of Kathmandu. For others it's only a one day event. Usually, people visit Tundikhel to see the parade, but one can observe the parades in the streets of Ason as well.
Day 1 - The Previous Day
The Newar community organizes the festival called Pahachare the day before Ghode Jatra. On this day, people worship many deities including Luku Mahadyah. After worship, they end the day with a feast with all family members.
Day 2 - The day of Ghode Jatra
This is the main day of Pahachare. People place the portable shrines in portable chariots on this day. Then they take these chariots on the parade to Kathmandu’s Ason and Patan’s Mangal Bazar. Later, they take the parade to Tundikhel.
The Nepalese Army organizes a grand horse parade and horse races on Tundikhel. The police force also goes on parade with them. The stadium is full of people from the ranks of government heads and high government officials.
In patan, younger people carry the Goddess Ajima’s portable chariots. Cultural musical teams accompany them. They take the shrines to the heart of Mangal Bazaar. Side by side, they also organize a horse race in Patan.
Day 3 - The Following Day
On this day, in Patan, people carry the Goddess Ajima’s shrine one final time before resting it in the family that watches over the shrine for that year.
In Ason, people gather multiple shrines alongside the cultural musical bands. They take the gods like Lumadi, Bhadrakali, Kankeshwari, and Bhairab to Ason and. They consider this day as the meeting of these gods.
The myth of Ghode Jatra
As per legends, there was a demon called Gurumapa (also named as Tundi). He lived around the tree of Tundikhel ground. The demon tortured children and the people around Kathmandu. Even when people gathered with sharp weapons and stones, they couldn’t kill that demon. In the end, the horses were sent to run down Gurumapa. Finally, the team of horses killed the demon.
But the people were afraid that Gurumapa might be back. So, every year, they started to run horses down the ground of Tundikhel. This soon became a ritual and later became a national festival.