Indrajatra in Gangtok

Gangtok, 15 Sept:

Indrajatra, the Newari festival was celebrated in Gangtok with the traditional jatra [procession] being taken around the capital. The celebration was organised by the Sikkim Newar Guthi in collaboration with guthis from all over the State.

The main event was hosted here at the Bhanu Udyan near Zero Point, Gangtok. Forest Minister Tshering Wangdi Lepcha was present as the chief guest of the function.

The programme started with rituals being performed at Bhanu Udyan where the Newar community offered prayers to Kumari Devi – the living goddess of the Newars. This was followed by the jatra which began at 11:30 AM from Bhanu Udyan travelling via Zero Point, Tibet Road, MG Marg and back. The chief guest Minister TW Lepcha also joined the procession.

The demon dance of Majipa Lakhey was performed on the streets of Gangtok with the Lakhey dancer and his retinue of musicians moving with much agility through the streets and crowds spreading the festive mood.

The Indrajatra festival today started with the erection of Linga, a pole from which the banner of Indra is unfurled. They also placed small butter lamps on the way. Some sang hymns as the procession moved along. The circuitous route wound along the periphery of the Gangtok town.

The Indrajatra celebrations consist of two events. The first event, Indrajatra is marked by masked dances of god and demons, displays of sacred images and tableaus in honor of Lord Indra, the king of Gods. The other event is Kumari Jatra, the chariot procession of the living goddess Kumari. Family members who have died in the past year are also remembered during the festival.

The jatra, after reaching MG Marg, had some colourful traditional dances, lakhey dance and some instrumental flute performances by local artists and some artists from Nepal. During the function at MG Marg, MLA Gangtok, Pintso Chopel Lepcha and Mayor Shakti Singh Chaudhary and other dignitaries were also present.

The jatra then headed back to Bhanu Udyan where a small formal programme was held.

During the programme, the Sikkim Newar Guthi felicitated members of Taji Laji Guthi from Nepal who participated in the jatra. Ganesh Ram Lachi and Raju Napit from Nepal were also felicitated.

Traditional food items like cheura, ginger, kaalo bhatmas, egg and traditional wine called aila were also served to the people present.

Speaking to SummitTimes, general secretary Sikkim Newar Guthi, Mani Kumar Pradhan expressed his gratitude to the state government for providing all necessary support and thanked all members of the Guthi from different parts of the State who participated in the Indrajatra and made the event a huge success.

Next year, Sikkim Newar Guthi is planning to host an even granderprogramme, said general secretary, Mani Kumar Pradhan.

The annual magazine of Sikkim Newar Guthi “Smarika” was also released on the occasion.