For the first time, foreign delegations are officially invited to attend Indra Jatra, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Newar community of the Kathmandu Valley.
Targeting the Visit Nepal Year 2020, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has invited 48 foreign delegations from its 13 sister cities of six countries to attend Indra Jatra this year.
Forty eight foreign delegations have confirmed their presence during the event. They include mayors of Lhasa of China, Dhaka South City Corporation of Bangladesh, Thimpu of Bhutan, East Delhi Municipal of India and North Delhi Municipal.
The International Relations Secretariat of KMC on Monday briefed KMC Mayor Bidhya Sundar Shakya about the visits of the foreign delegations during Indra Jatra. The KMC has started to send invitation to its sister cities, asking them to attend the event.
The delegation from Shiyan, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Nanjing and Lanzhou cities of China, Matsumoto of Japan and Fredericksburg and Federicburg and Wilder of the United States of America will attend the festival, KMC informed.
According to Mayor Shakya “This will be crucial to promote the Visit Nepal Year, 2020.” such event would also develop connectivity between the people of the sister cities and exchange cultural aspects, he added.
They have no plan to establish formal agreement with any cities that the guests, who were visiting Kathmandu this time, would be like tourists. “They will work as messengers to take our cultural and historical pride to their places.”said mayor shakya.
Chief of the Secretariat Mahesh Kafle said the delegations attending the festival would also get brief information of the tangible and intangible aspects of Indra Jatra.
They were scheduled to visit inner cities of the Kathmandu Valley, Swoyumbhu and Bouddha, Patan of Lalitpur, Durbar Square of Bhaktapur, and Chandragiri. The delegation team was scheduled to arrive on September 12 and will return on September 16, Kafle said.
According to chairperson of Indra Jatra Management Committee Gautam Shakya, Indra Jatra begins officially after the erecting a pine pole at Basantapur in front of the old Hanuman Dhoka Palace. This year, Indra Jatra falls on September 13, that this year the wooden pole would be erected on September 10, said Gautam shakya.
Further he added that Indra Jatra would end on September 17 after completing Nachina Jatra.
The eight-day Indra Jatra festival is one of the most exciting and beautiful festivals of the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. It also marks the beginning of a month-long festival season of autumn.