Biska Jatra: A Vibrant and Colorful Festival

April 11, 2023

Nepal is a country known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant festivals. One of the most unique and colorful festivals celebrated in Nepal is the Biska Jatra. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor in the city of Bhaktapur, which is located about 13 km east of Kathmandu. Biska Jatra is also known as the “Festival of Bisket” and is celebrated to mark the beginning of the Nepali New Year.

The History of Biska Jatra

The origins of Biska Jatra can be traced back to the Licchavi period, which was from the 3rd to the 7th century. The festival is believed to have been started to commemorate the victory of Bhaktapur over the neighboring kingdom of Kirtipur. According to legend, a demon named Jalasura was terrorizing the people of Bhaktapur, and it was only after the demon was defeated that the festival started.

The Celebrations of Biska Jatra

The festival of Biska Jatra is celebrated over a period of nine days. The main event of the festival takes place on the eighth day, which is known as “Biska Ausi”. On this day, a large wooden pole called “lingo” is erected in the middle of the city’s main square. The pole is decorated with flags, banners, and other colorful decorations.

In the evening, a procession of chariots carrying the idols of various deities is taken around the city. The chariots are pulled by the local people, who are dressed in traditional attire and perform various cultural dances and songs. The procession ends at the main square, where the chariots are placed around the lingo pole.

The most exciting part of the festival is the “Yohla Bhairav” ceremony, which takes place in the early morning of the ninth day. Yohla Bhairav is a representation of the Hindu god Bhairav, who is believed to protect the city. The statue of Yohla Bhairav is taken from the temple and placed on a platform in front of the lingo pole.

The local people then gather around the statue and engage in a tug-of-war competition. The competition is between the people from the upper part of the city and the people from the lower part of the city. The winning team is believed to bring good luck to the city for the rest of the year.


Biska Jatra is a vibrant and colorful festival that is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor in Bhaktapur, Nepal. The festival is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Nepal and is a symbol of the unity and spirit of the local people. The festival not only celebrates the victory of the people of Bhaktapur over the demon Jalasura but also marks the beginning of the Nepali New Year. It is a time of joy and celebration, and a time when the people of Bhaktapur come together to celebrate their heritage and culture.