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Ghode Jatra

Ghode Jatra- Horse Racing Day

The traditional festival Ghode Jatra which falls in Nepali month of Chaitra (mid-march or early April) is celebrated every year in Tundikhel Kathmandu. The annual festival of Ghode Jatra is also known as Horse racing day which this year falls on March 17. The celebration of Ghode Jatra is done in a wide open ground of Tundikhel every year in the heart of Kathmandu. Organized and performed by Nepal Army and Police together, Ghode Jatra has a historically rich mythology that centers on Kathmandu city’s ancient times. Legends have it that there was a demon named 'Tundi' who had terrorized people of the valley for a long time until one day he was murdered. Finally, unable to take the reign of demon's terror anymore, the people of Kathmandu released a horde of horses on top of the demon. The horse crushed demon on the ground, and when the dust settled, the demon did not stand up like before anymore. After enduring months of the demon’s terror, the people had finally killed him but people still had a fear that demon might return again. So, to make sure that demon won't come back, a ritual came about every year of horses running on the tracks in Tundikhel. Afterwards, as time passed by, this ritual came to be known as the Ghode Jatra. To follow the same culture, Nepal army organizes horse race, cycle race & other various competition on this day. Army & policemen also perform an acrobatic show. The festival is attended by the army top brass, the top government officials and diplomats. Huge crowds gather around Tundikhel to watch but they are not allowed to enter the Tundikhel. Actually, Ghode Jatra falls within the festival of Pahachare of Newar community. Pahachare is the three-day festival of the Newar community which means inviting guests in Newari language. This festival begins every year on the Chaitra Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi (Krishna Pakshya is the second half of a lunar month). On the first day, people clean their surroundings considering it a worship of Lukumahadev. In the morning, they perform Puja and some people sacrifice animals. A feast begins at Ason where palanquins (khat) are dashed against each other beside the Annapurna temple. In the evening, idols of goddesses are taken around the city in khat. Ghode Jatra is second day. On This day palanquins are placed in Tundikhel. And intoxicated horse is also made to run in Patan. People invite their married daughters and sisters home for a grand feast on the second and third days. This is how celebration came to be. The reflection of city's past & its history is still alive & remembered as people see the celebration of Ghode Jatra in the city on no moon day of Chaitra.