The annual festival of Ghode Jatra, also known as the Horse Racing Day which falls on the Nepali month of Chaitra, is being celebrated in the Kathmandu Valley with much gusto on Saturday.
The Ghode Jatra is known as the oldest festival celebrated in the country’s cultural hub of the Valley.
The festival is being celebrated annually as per a mythology which relates the genesis of the festival after the death of a demon named Tundi.
Legend has it that the demon who lived on a meadow, which is now at Tundikhel, used to instigate terror among the Kathmandu denizens. After his death people rejoiced by dancing on his body by riding horses.
There is a belief that the parade of horses at Tundikhel keeps the demon’s spirit away. The faster the horses run, the better and faster Tundi’s spirit is dispelled. As per another legend, the Ghode Jatra is held to mark the start of New Year.
The festival is celebrated on the day of Krishna Aunsi, as per the lunar calendar, which is a day before the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada and this day is taken as the start of the New Year.
The horse parade, religiously known as Aswa Yatra, is organised to welcome the New Year.
The day before Ghode Jatra is also known as Pichas Chaturdarshi, as per lunar calendar.
On the day, the Nepali Army cavalry team performs different artistic stunts riding on their horses.