SINGTAM, SEPTEMBER 9: State Level Indra Jatra Celebration held at Singtam marked a historic moment. It was for the first time that the Kumari Devi’s puja had been performed outside Gangtok since last five years. Singtam, the busiest town in Sikkim takes the honour to receive the Kumari for the first year; it has been announced that Indra Jatra, the biggest festival of Newar community shall travel to different places of Sikkim for the coming eight years and shall return to Gangtok thereafter.
The Indra Jatra event was organised by Sikkim Newar Guthi and hosted by Indra Jatra Celebration Committee 2014, Singtam. The festival was held in two phases; the morning (the ritual) session and the second (cultural) session.
Somnath Poudhyal, Area MLA cum Minister, Food Security & Agriculture & AHVS was the Chief Guest of the morning session that included Indra Rath Poojan and Kumari Jatra. The puja was performed by Parampujiya Guruji Shri Shri Suryabir Tuladhar from Swayambu Mandir, Gangtok. Thousands of Newars from different corner of the state had visited Singtam, the venue of the event. Sagoon (Samay-baji) was offered to every individuals after the completion of the puja.
Distinguished guests present in the morning occasion included Bikram Pradhan, Chief Whip, Government of Sikkim, AK Ghatani, Minister, Health Care and Family Welfare and IPR, Uttam Pradhan, Chairman, Song, Dance, Drama and Film Board, Indra Pradhan, Chairman, State Welfare Board, councilors of Singtam Nagar Panchayats, guests from Nepal, Darjeeling, Jaigoan and others.
Kumari Jatra, highlight of the Indra Jatra Celebration had a procession that moved through the Singtam bazaar and return back to the venue. Newar community in their traditional costumes carrying the banners of their respective guthi participated in huge gathering. Lakhey Dance was performed in the streets of Singtam for the very first time. On returning back to the stage, bhoj was offered to the gathered crowds.
Bikash Pradhan, Newar Language Teacher from Namthang SSS gave a brief introduction of the day and told about the importance of Indra Jatra and Kumar Puja in Newar community.
The afternoon session started with the arrival of Ugen T Gyatso, Minister Tourism and Aviation, who also was the Chief Guest of the cultural event. Highlight of the second session was the release of ‘NEWA’, a documentary on Newar Language and Culture. The documentary was made by Badhaichha Creation, Singtam. Chief Guest and other guests released the DVD where the unit team of ‘NEWA’ was also offered khadas by the Chief Guest on the stage. The documentary offers a simplest means of speaking newar language and learning cultural knowledge. Praveen Pradhan and Shital Pradhan had directed the documentary.
The Chief Guest and other guests were offered newar topi and memento from the Sikkim Newar Guthi. TB Pradhan, President, Indra Jatra Celebration Committee 2014, Singtam gave the welcome speech. Pradhan shared his experience for an opportunity to organize such a huge responsibility in his shoulder. He thanked every individual for their support.
Different cultural programmes were performed by the participants from Namchi Sakha Guthi, Dentam Sakha Guthi, Melli Dara Sakha Guthi and Gangtok. Rajendra Pradhan from Namchi, Pushpan Pradhan from Doars and Arun Pradhan from Singtam entertained the crowds with their thrilling voices. Smarika, Indra Jatra Samaroh 2014 was also released on the occasion.
Bikram Pradhan, Chief Whip, Government of Sikkim in speech shared his experience and the blessing on Indra Jatra. He spoked about the Government’s role in the development on Newars of Sikkim. Somnath Poudhyal, Area MLA cum Minister, Food Security & Agriculture & AHVS applauded the achievements of the Newars in Sikkim in his words and said it is an example for the society. Ugen T Gyatso, Minister Tourism and Aviation added Indra Jatra festival should be acknowledged as a tourism festival. He further said Singtam has managed to keep the prestige and status of a state level Indra Jatra. Prakash Pradhan and Jayashree Pradhan were the Master of Ceremony of the program.