Chaitra 29, 2073 (April 11, 2017) was the first day of the famous Bisket Jatra (Biska Jatra) this year which is an annual festival in Bhaktapur. I had heard, read and seen picture of this famous jatra ever since I was a child but had never got an opportunity to witness it. I was however present in Bhaktapur on the first day of this jatra in 2072 but cold not stay long enough to see the jatra. But this year I got lucky as my colleague invited me to join him to witness the jatra and take some photos of the happening. As it was a working day, I had to quickly reschedule my work and joined him to the jatra.
For those who don’t know, Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur Durbar Square is celebrated by pulling a huge chariot carrying lord Bhairav. Unlike other chariots which are pulled in a single direction, this chariot is pulled from two directions. Hundreds of people from the eastern part of the town try and pull it towards their locality while the other hundreds do the same and try to pull it towards the western side. There is thus an exciting tug of war between the people. I was made known that if the people in the east are able to pull the chariot and take it to the eastern part of the town, it is considered as bad luck.
Just as we had reached the venue (Taumadi) , the idol of Bhairav was placed in the chariot and the jatra began immediately even before we had our cameras ready. People immediately started pulling the chariot and the excitement began. I was thrilled to see the chariot shake and occasionally “jump” due to the shear force it was being pulled from two directions. The engineering in the construction of the chariot seemed really remarkable to me considering the shake it could withstand.
While we were there, the chariot was stationed at Taumadi. People were able to pull it towards the east and take the chariot up to Golmadi. However, after a while, the group from the west were able to pull it back and bring it to Taumadi again. It was 9:00 at night by this time, so we decided to get back home as it was already late.
It was definitely a great experience for a first timer and if you know how to take care of yourself and your valuables amidst a crowd of thousands of people, you won’t regret visiting the jatra. Just be very careful in the crowd.
BONUS: Here is a quick video to share the experience with you all.