Ghode Jatra is organized on no-moon day of Chaitra Sukla Pakshya of Eastern Lunar calendar. This parade is organized and performed by Nepal Army and Police together. This occasion falls about mid March or early April of English Calendar month. A big horse parade takes place at Tundikhel.
Newars of Kathmandu celebrate Ghode Jatra for several days.
The idols of the gods of many localities are taken in a procession in their area in Kharpan and small Rath (portable chariots). The community organize big feast at this time. A demon called ‘Gurumumpa’ is also propitiated at this time in Tundikhel. Nepal Army at Tundikhel organizes Horse race, cycle race and other completions. Army and police men perform acrobatic shows.
Idol of Gods Lumadi, Bhadrakali, Kankeshwari and Bhairav are brought to Asan chok during the day time at the main celebration and at night in Tundikhel. This day these Gods meet together every year.
Actually Godhe Jatra Falls within the festival of Pahachare.
Pahachare is the three-day festival of the Newar community. Pahachare means inviting guests in Newari language. This festival begins every year on the Chaitra Krishna Pakcha Chaturdashi (Krishna Pakshya is second half of a lunar month).
On the occasion, eight goddesses at different Shaktipiths (power centres) including Kankeshwori, Bhadrakaali and Mahankal are said to be activated through tantrik rites.
On the first day, people clean their surroundings and sewage considering it a worship of Lukumahadev. In the morning, they perform Puja and some people sacrifice animals. A feast begins at Ason where palanquins (khat) are dashed against each other beside the Annapurna temple. It is regarded as a symbol of meeting sisters. In the evening, idols of goddesses are taken around the city in a khat.
Ghode Jatra is second day. This day palaquins are placed in Tundikhel. An inebriated horse is also made to run in Patan. People invite their married daughters and sisters home for a grand feast on the second and third days.
This festivals falls at the start of Summer/spring people clean drains and their surroundings to keep themselves away from summer health hazards.
It is said Ghode Jatra was organized to celebrate the victory over a demon named Tundi who reside over the field known as Tundikhel. Tundi was a big terror for t he people of Kathmandu. When he died people cheered by dancing onto his body with horses. It is believed that galloping of horses on Ghode Jatra at Tundikhel keeps the demon’s sprit under the ground.
It’s said, Patan, a district in Kathmandu valley, also has an event on Ghode Jatra at Bal Kumari area. Horses are intoxicated with local beers and drunken men in traditional Newari dress ride on them. People cheer and shout to frighten and enrage the horses until they run fast and throw the men out from their back. People enjoy this occasion.
People say this occasion in Patan was celebrated to give a better show in comparison to Tundikhel’s parade. Since those days people of Patan were not able to attain Ghode Jatra in Kathmandu.