Biratnagar : The Heart-throb of Eastern Nepal
All Photos By: Shila Parajul
Biratnagar is a beautiful city. There are many things that have made it beauteous. Though it lacks enough greenery, it has its own unique culture and tradition. Biratnagar is indeed a heavenly city situated in Eastern Nepal. It is the capital of Morang district. The original name of Biratnagar was Gograha Bazaar. Before Gograha Bazaar, district capital of Morang was Rangeli. In 1914 AD, Colonel Jit Bahadur Khatri(district governor at that time) moved capital from Rangeli to Biratnagar. The historical palace of Biratnagar is Birat Durbar which is left only with rubbles now. The ruins of the palace along with stone carved tools, idols and household objects can be seen protected in southern part of Biratnagar, in a place called Rani. The first jute mill in Nepal was tendered in Biratnagar, which is no more.
Biratnagar is a great hub to explore the places of eastern Nepal like Illam, Taplejung, Koshi Wildlife Reserve. There are many temples in Biratnagar. Kali Mandir is a temple that lies in heart of the town. During time of Dashain, Kali Mandir is of vital importance for people of Hindu Religion. During 9 days of Navaratri, a large number of people gather in queue to get blessings from goddess Kali. The fun is when we visit the temple with whole members of family early in the morning. On the day of “Asthami” many people gather around the temple to pay tribute to their Kuldevta.
Rath Yatra (The Cart Journey) is yet another fascinating festival celebrated in Biratnagar. It is celebrated on the day of Krishna Asthami. Rath Yatra is celebrated based on the fact that the cart was driven by Lord Krishna. So people keep young child in cart as symbol of Lord Krishna and pull the cart with joy to celebrate Krishna’s birthday. The celebration is so huge that traffic is halted for 5-6 hours. The cart is very huge and needs hundreds of people to pull. Some priests stay on top of the cart to distribute Prasad (holy fruits). The big cart is followed by many smaller carts. It is the most important festival for the people of Biratnagr. So, almost all the schools and offices close after 1 p.m. to let the believers and spectators attend the Rath Yatra.
Another festival that no one would miss is Chhath. It is important festivals of Terai region of Nepal. It is the festival of Madhesi people. People gather on the bank of rivers to do puja and thank Surya(The Sun) for sustaining life on earth.
One thing that no one should miss while visiting Biratnagar is devouring delicious “puchka”. Also, they should not miss out on the Sweets and Snacks of “Unique”, the complete vegetarian café.