Biska Jatra

Nepal, a land steeped in diverse cultures, bursts with vibrant festivals throughout the year. Among them, Biska Jatra stands out as a celebration brimming with color, enthusiasm, and a touch of the extraordinary. Held in the ancient city of Bhaktapur, approximately 13 kilometers east of Kathmandu, this week-long spectacle coincides with the Nepali New Year, which usually falls in April.

A Celebration Steeped in History

Biska Jatra, also known as Bisket Jatra and Vishwodhoj Jatra, traces its roots back to the Licchavi period (400-750 AD). This vibrant display marks the triumph of good over evil, a theme echoed in the festival’s energetic spirit.

Thrilling Events and Vibrant Displays

The festival explodes with a kaleidoscope of events. One of the most captivating is the chariot procession. A massive chariot, adorned with colorful banners, snakes through the streets of Bhaktapur, carrying the idol of Bhairab, the city’s protector deity. Crowds of enthusiastic participants pull the chariot, their energy adding to the festival’s infectious atmosphere.

Another highlight, though not for the faint of heart, is the famed tongue-piercing ceremony. Known as “Bhoto Dekhaune“, this ritual involves a group of courageous men who demonstrate their bravery and devotion by allowing a long iron spike to be pierced through their tongues. They then parade through the streets, showcasing their unwavering faith.

Tongue Piercing Festival | Jibro Chhedne Jatra (जिब्रो छेड्ने जात्रा)
Tongue Piercing Festival | Jibro Chhedne Jatra (जिब्रो छेड्ने जात्रा)

Beyond these captivating acts, Biska Jatra offers a treasure trove of experiences. Traditional dances and cultural performances enthrall audiences, while exciting competitions like tug-of-war, bullfighting (with a ritualistic twist), and archery add a layer of friendly rivalry.

Immerse Yourself in the Festivities

Biska Jatra attracts thousands of visitors each year, both domestic and international. It’s a chance to experience Nepal’s rich cultural tapestry firsthand. The celebrations encompass delicious traditional meals, warm greetings, and the opportunity to participate in various events.

Frequently Asked Questions about Biska Jatra

  • When is Biska Jatra Celebrated? – Typically held in April, around the Nepali New Year.
  • What’s the Significance of Biska Jatra? – It celebrates the victory of good over evil and dates back to the Licchavi period.
  • What are the Main Attractions? – The chariot procession, tongue-piercing ceremony, traditional performances, competitions, and more.
  • About the Tongue-Piercing Ceremony? – Performed by the “Bhoto Dekhaune,” it showcases bravery and devotion through a symbolic piercing.
  • Can Foreigners Participate? – Absolutely! However, respectful attire and cultural sensitivity are recommended.
  • Best Time to Visit Bhaktapur for Biska Jatra? – During the festival week in April. Check the exact dates before your trip.

A Festival Not to Be Missed

Biska Jatra is a captivating experience that encapsulates the essence of Nepal’s cultural vibrancy. It’s a joyous celebration that honors tradition, showcases bravery, and offers a chance to connect with the local spirit. If your travels bring you to Nepal in April, don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in this extraordinary festival.

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