Biska Jatra बिस्काः जात्रा

This ancient new year festival of Bhaktapur takes place at the new year of the Bikram Sambat calendar (April). A few days before the new year, the goddess ‘Bhadrakali’ and the god ‘Bhairab’ are enshrined in their rath, (chariots) and pulled through the narrow streets of Bhaktapur by crowds of young men. The chariots rest at certain time-honored places in the city where people come out to throw offerings of flower, rice, coins and red sindur (vermilion powder). On the last day of the old year, a towering wooden pole known as ‘lyesing dyo’ or ‘lingo’ is erected at the edge of town. Long banners hang from the pole symbolizing snakes (Nag and Nagini). On New Year’s Day the pole is brought down to symbolize victory over evil. A few days later, the chariot is again pulled through the narrow streets of Bhaktapur back to its original position in Tamari Square to mark the end of Biska Jatra.