The Horse Racing Festival of Ghora Jatra is
a kind of sports festival which includes horse racing.
It takes place in the Tundhikhel, the central parade grounds
of Kathmandu. Originally it was a local celebration of
the killing of the demon, Tundhi, who gave the inhabitants a
lot of grief. When he was finally slain, the people of
Kathmandu celebrated by running a herd of horses over the
demon's gigantic chest. Nowadays the beating of the
horses hooves on the ground under which the demon is buried,
is believed to keep him underground. This used to be a
festival involving the King and the Kumari worshiping in a
nearby temple before the parade of horses.
Nowadays the royal razmatazz is absent
from the celebrations, the Kumari observes the proceedings
from a balcony of the Nepal Airlines building overlooking the
popular specatacle with people coming from all over to
watch, there are horse races (if the horses run fast its
good omen for the coming year). cycle races, displays
or military discipline and fusllades by the army, gymnatstic
compatitions and so on.
same time, in Patan, a mock Ghora Jatra,
with a drunken rider atop a single old nag who has also been
fed rakshi, is celebrated in response to an
incident many years ago when riders from Patan were not
admitted to the Kathmandu horse races.