Ghode Jatra Festival

Ghode Jatra Festival is a horse festival native to Kathmandu.  In the festival, a horse parades is organized in Tundikhel. The parade and competitions is carried out in the presence of heads of state.  Ghode Jatra is organized on the no-moon day of Chaitra Sukla Paksha of the Eastern Lunar calendar. This parade is organized and performed by the Nepal Army and Police together. This occasion falls about mid-March or early April (Chaitra).  A big horse parade takes place at Tundikhel.

Moreover on Ghode Jatra Festival

The festival holds its own myth of a victory over a demon named Gurumapa. Gurumapa is who inhabited over the meadow of the Tundikhel. There still exists a tree in the South-East part of the Tundikhel where Gurumapa supposed to be resides.

As per assure made with the demon before his last breath the night before Ghode Jatra, a buffalo is sacrificed and rice is cooked near the tree as a feast for the demon. The day before Ghode-Jatra, Newari-community people celebrates a festival; Panchare. Panchare is said to be a propitious day for consuming a large amount of garlic and meat. And some even consider it a day when citizen in the streets may inebriate themselves.

Fable of the Gurumapa defines: Gurumapa a fiend lived in the Tundikhel scared children of the Kathmandu city. He used to abduct juvenile kids with an intention to terrorize and torture them. Every evening became perilous for kids of city. So denizens of Kathmandu paraded horse in the Tundikhel with an intention to kill the devil encroaching under the horse toe. And when he met with his death people rejoiced by dancing over his body with horses. So it is believed that the clamor of horses’ hooves on Ghode Jatra at Tundikhel keeps the demon spirit at bay as it still threatens to ruin the city. It’s believed that, the faster the horses run quicker will Gurumapa’s spirit is dispelled. The swift running of the horses on this day is also considered to be a good omen for the Nepalese people.

Ghode jatra festival

Another event takes place on Ghode Jatra is 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 Malla king of Patan to give a better show in comparison to Tundikhel’s parade, as in those days no one from Patan tempted to go Tundikhel. The most worshiped goddess on this day in Bhadrakali also known by the Newari people as Lumarhi Devi.

Ghode Jatra was organized to celebrate the victory over a demon named Tundi who resides over the field known as Tundikhel. Tundi was a big terror for the people of Kathmandu. When she died people cheered by dancing onto his body with horses. It is believed that the galloping of horses on Ghode Jatra at Tundikhel keeps the demon’s spirit under the ground.

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Posted by

Kapil Banjara

Kapil is been working for 7 years in the tourism industry as a professional tour guide. He is a resource person of Nepalese society and politics with culture and tourism under Tribhuvan University for 8 years.
Kapil has also published a tourism-related book titled “Nepalese society and politics with culture and tourism” from Buddha Publication. He has been completed his master’s degree in different social subjects such as Population Studies, Political Science, Educational Planning and Management, and sociology.

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