It is very kind of the Governor of Sikkim, Sri Shriniwas Patil and the First Lady Smt. Rajanidevi Patil to extend their warm greetings to the people of Sikkim and to the Newar community in particular, on the auspicious occasion of Indrajatra. We are humbled by such a kind gesture and reciprocate with all fellow citizens and may this occasion of worship shower blessings, protection and harmony amongst all sections of the society at large.
We are grateful to the Chief Minister and Government of Sikkim for according the status of the State language to our Newar language at par with other languages in 1995 and for its development over the years and also for declaring Indrajatra as a public holiday throughout Sikkim in 2011. We take every opportunity to acknowledge and thank him.
Here, I would also like to take the opportunity to reproduce and share a recent post by Newah Mhasika (Knowing the Newars) on Facebook: “We Newas are the civilized people who have been pragmatically elebrating various festivals and ceremonies since ancient times. Among those festivals that are celebrated throughout the year, 'Indra Ya Punhi' is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Kathmandu. In due course of time, this festival became known as 'Yenya Punhi' and 'Indra Jatra'. The words 'Ya' or 'Jatra' comes from the Sanskrit word 'Yatra'.
It is believed that this festival was commenced by the Lichchavi King GunaKam Dev. Whereas the credit for adding various chariot processions and other elements in this festival goes to Malla King Jaya Prakash Malla. This festival begins with erecting of the 'Yoshin' outside the old Palace of Hanuman Dhoka, and ends with its bringing down. During this festival, the head/mask of 'Aju Dyo' or 'Akash Bhairav' is displayed and worshipped along with the statue of Indra, the King of gods. The dances of Sawa Bhakku, Lakhey, Mahakali, Pulu Kisi, Devi, etc. are performed throughout this festival. The procession called 'Upaku' in the memory of the dead ones is also observed. Similarly many events such as Dashavatar performance, Dakini dance are also observed. The displays and offerings of 'Samay Baji' are done at various places in Kathmandu. (Text courtesy: Mark Shrestha, Arun Shrestha vuzu)
This festival is celebrated by all castes and creeds, and various guthis of Newa community of Kathmandu, by taking their respective assigned responsibilities, and by helping each other to successfully organizing and conclude the festival as a joint effort. Thus, this event is not just a festival, but an occasion and symbol to strengthen the religious and cultural harmony of Newa community at large.”
The same source reminds us of this Indrajatra Day as the day when we the Newars lost our kingdoms to Prithwi Narayan Shah some centuries ago. My friends may be interested to know more on this aspect: “Fall of the Newah Kingdoms – Some Excerpts from a German Account of Hidden History of Nepal - An account by Austrian journalist, Dr. Hans Georg Behr in his book titled “Nepal Geschenk der Götter (Nepal Gifts of the Gods)” written in German reveals an unknown part of our history how the Newah Kingdoms fallen to Gurkhas. The account by Dr. Behr, who was born in Vienna, Austria but lives in Hamburg, Germany, translated into English by Chakana Nepahmi and a Nepal Bhasa version by Binod Saymi “Ala” have brought these untold episodes of the history into light recently. Either many of our historians were not aware of the episodes or reluctant to convey to us the events what led to the fall of Newah kingdoms in the Nepal Mandala in the 18th century. The account therein contradicts the conventional account of unification story of Nepal.” Source: The Newah Hamburg, Germany
If a secret history of books could be written, and the author’s private thoughts and meanings noted down alongside of his story, how many insipid volumes would become interesting, and dull tales excite the readers! - William Makepeace Thackeray