Indrajatra—Chariot of the Living Goddess


Indrajatra in Kathmandu involves that mystic little girl, who is thought to be a reincarnation of Devi Durga and is believed to be the protecting deity of the entire valley. She is called Kumari, and is said to be possessed with the ability to deliver oracles. One girl is selected from many and is put on her throne for 5-6 years. And she is made to live beyond public gaze almost her entire term. Intrajatra is the only occasion when she is placed on a chariot and taken on a ride. The entire valley gathers at Durbar Square, waiting for the Kumari to be carried out of her wooden palace—known as Kumari Bahal. Folk dancers dance to amuse her while the Royal Guards discharge their muzzle loaders. Moms turn their girls into Kumaris—even with the additional third eye—and they appear for a Kumari contest. Everybody just crosses the permissible limit of euphoria to catch one flower thrown from the Kumari’s chariot. Earthen lamps are lit in thousands and in the smoke people pray as the Kumari comes into view.