Gai Jatra in Bhaktapur – festival with unbelievable energy

“Death of the beloved ones is hard to take but Nepalese know the ways to celebrate deaths. After all, death is as certain as the life itself.”

Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
Colorful people observing colorful festival, Gai Jatra

Gai Jatra, the festival that celebrates death in the most beautiful way in Nepal has the long history. In the ancient days, the festival worshipped the lord of Death “Yama”. In the medieval era, the celebration of this festival experienced huge transformation. Attempts to please the queen of King Pratap Malla, who was devastated by the death of her young son, the festival emerged to become one of the most entertaining festivals in Kathmandu that blends the biggest tragedy of life, which is death with the unlimited humor and fun.

Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
Kids attired Godly leading the procession during the festival

The procession of cow that goes around the city demonstrating death of family member the previous year was Gai Jatra in the past. These days’ young kids dressed funnily represent cows. During anarchy in Nepal Gai Jatra,  offered freedom to satire against the government and bureaucrats. The festival falls on the day after the festival of threads Janai Purnima, which is normally on August as per the Gregorian calendar.

Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
The image of the deceased one displayed during the Jatra

In today’s post, we have posted few photographs of the celebration of Gai Jatra in Bhaktapur. No place in Nepal celebrates Gai Jatra as enthusiastically and as energetically as Bhaktapur does. Surprisingly the entire city submerges into it.

Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
Every street of Bhaktapur on this day has such performances

“The Newar Community of Bhaktapur celebrates the festival with colorful procession led by the kids and the chariot with the images of their beloved ones who died the previous year.”


Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
The amazing stick dance being performed in the narrow streets of Bhaktapur by young girls traditionally attired

The stick dance that goes slowly at the beginning and increases its pace as the tempo of the traditional music goes faster is fascinating to observe. The entire town painted with different colors of fascinating human activities has so much to say.

Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
The beats of traditional instruments manifest the energy and passion for celebrating the festival

“This year the celebration was more meaningful because Bhaktapur lost many lives during the devastating quake 2015. The most heartbreaking part was the natives had pains in their faces but still they had accepted the reality of death and were involved in the celebration, which is after all the part of life in the amazing town of devotees.”

Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
The glimpse of Bhaktapur Durbar Square during the festival

The day in Bhaktapur during Gai Jatra is an opportunity to see the highest degree of human energy, unity within communities together paying delightful tribute to their loved ones who died the preceding year and the wonderful colors of natives involved in the jatra rituals.

Gai jatra celebration in Bhaktapur
Little girl traveling to Nepal with her dad observing Gai Jatra in bHAKTAPUR


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