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Indrajatra: A Radiant Festival Celebrated by the Newar Community in Sikkim

27 Jul,2023 05:37 PM, by: Sushmita Dey
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Indrajatra, a special and vibrant festival, is celebrated with exuberance and joy by the Newar community in Sikkim. With its roots stretching back centuries, the festival revolves around the beloved King of Heaven, Indra, and his quest for the enchanting Parijat flowers. Originally a Nepalese festival, the Newar Gutthi community in Sikkim embraced it with boundless zeal and enthusiasm. Introduced to Sikkim in 2000, the festival quickly became an integral part of the region's cultural tapestry and was later officially declared a state holiday in 2011. The heartwarming origins of Indrajatra and the contagious festive spirit it brings make it a truly delightful celebration for all who participate. The colorful displays, traditional rituals, and joyous gatherings mark this occasion as a time of unity, love, and reverence for ancient traditions.

Let's take a delightful journey to discover the heartwarming origins and the festive spirit of Indrajatra.

The Legendary Tale:

A long time ago, Indra's mother wanted to have the enchanting Parijat flowers. However, they could only be found in the picturesque Kathmandu Valley. Indra, determined to make his mother happy, decided to get these flowers and surprise her with their fragrance and beauty.

As Indra set off to get the precious Parijat flowers, fate had a different plan for him. Unaware of his true identity, the people of the Kathmandu Valley mistook him for a thief and imprisoned him. They had no idea that he was the powerful king of Heaven.

Indra's absence in the heavenly realm worried his mother. She embarked on a quest to find him and eventually reached the Kathmandu Valley. There, she revealed Indra's divine identity, and the people realized their mistake. Filled with remorse, they set Indra free.

The Birth of Indrajatra:

To honor this divine reunion and seek forgiveness from Indra, the people of the Kathmandu Valley decided to celebrate a grand festival dedicated to him. Thus, the magnificent tradition of Indrajatra came into being.

Today, Indrajatra is a vibrant and cherished occasion for the Newar community in Sikkim. The festivities start with the erection of a ceremonial pole called "Yosin" in the city center, symbolizing Indra's presence and blessings.

The festival is a delightful mix of colorful rituals, lively processions, and mesmerizing performances. People dress in traditional attire and fill the streets with song and dance, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of drums and cymbals. Chariots carrying images of deities are paraded through the city, creating a joyful and spiritual atmosphere.

Indrajatra celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Newar community and reminds us of the values of love, forgiveness, and unity. This radiant festival not only honors the presence of Indra but also brings people together in devotion and happiness. As the lively celebrations continue to grace the streets of Sikkim, the spirit of Indrajatra lives on, inspiring generations with its message of love and togetherness.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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