Bisket Jatra - The Balkumari Jatra

The day when Thimi turns into Orange Bisket Jatra celebrated in Madhyapur Thimi, the Balkumari Jatra is a part of Bisket Jatra, which is also known as the Vermilion Powder Festival or Sindur Jatra which is one of the most spectacular festivals in the country. During which the people of Thimi honor the goddess Balkumari, one of Bhairab’s consorts. All through the day devotees gather outside the Balkumari temple and in the evening hundreds of oil lamps are lit.

Celebrated on the 1st Baisakh of the Bikram Sambat (Nepali New Year) in the honor of the Bal-Kumari temple of Thimi. All the deities from different places around Thimi are taken out for the procession in colorful chariots accompanied with Dhimay Baja (Indigenous Music) and people throwing vermillion powder to the deities and participants of the festival.

The festival is celebrated for four days. On the new year's eve it takes place in Dakshin Barahi (Kwachhen) - Balkumari. On the first day of the year, Bisket Jatra takes place in the evening in Siddhikali, Thimi. On the second day, the townsmen parade 32 different dieted in palanquins around the temple where saffron and vermilion powders are tossed towards them. It is a colorful scene, a sea of humanity bathed in sacred colors. Which takes place at Balkumari in the early morning. The palanquins (khats) are gathered around Balkumari and the temple is revolved by the participants along with the chariots of deities.

Following this event, sacrifices are made to the Balkumari in the neighboring village of Bode where there are only seven deities borne on palanquins. In Bode takes place an event which might seem bizarre to outsiders. A volunteer in a spiritual trance gets his tongue pierced with an iron spike. Good fortune to the village and to the volunteer will follow should he succeed in spending the whole day thus spiked.

[Bisket Jatra - The Pride of Bhaktapur]