Festival of Horse Racing
The Horse Racing Day popularly known as Ghode Jatra falls on the Month of mid March or early April (Chaitra). On that day, a grand horse parade takes place at Tudhikhel, the centre point of the city. Tudikhel was previously the largest parade ground in Asia.
It is said that in olden days, the Kings of Kathmandu used to go to worship Bhadrakali temple in a procession following the Living Goddess Kumari.
This visit was later modified into horse parade and later as horse athletics and horse racing contest as it is at present. Previously it attracted only the residents of Kathmandu, however, at present people from all over Nepal seems to be interested in this festival. On this day, the Tudikhel ground is decorated and a huge crowd of the spectators gather around it. The game begins after the arrival of the Head of the State. It is also considered to be the auspicious day for consuming large amount of garlic, meat and liquor.
As the legend goes, this festival was held to celebrate the victory over the demon named Tundi who lived in the Tudikhel.
People were terrified of him so when he died, they began to dance over his body on horses. It is believed that the sound of the horses’ hooves on the day of Ghode Jatra on Tudikhel keeps the spirit of the demon at the bay, as it still threatens the Kathmandy Valley. It is said that faster the horses run quicker the spirit of Tundi will disperse. Hence, the horse racing is held every year. The speedy run of the horses is considered as a good omen for the Nepalese people. It being a sports festival makes it different from the others.
It is one of the popular festivals of Nepal with is celebrated with much fun and entertainment.