Photo-feature

Rato Machhindranath festival kicks off today

- Post Report, Lalitpur

Apr 30, 2017-The month-long festival of chariot procession of the rain god, Rato Machhindranath, commenced at Lalitpur on Sunday.

 The mast of the chariot is being decorated for the big day.

 People of eight localities in Patan—Natol, Gabahal, Mekhabahal, Kusunti, Kayanni, Walmaya, Dhaugol and Sachhi Chhe—usually lead the Machhindranath chariot procession.

Legends associated with the Machindranath Jatra celebration have it that the procession once rescued Kathmandu Valley of severe drought. It is believed that the Lichhavi King Narendra Dev brought the idol of Rato Machhindranath from Assam in India to rid his country of the drought.

Workers prepare the hauling rope for the chariot of Rato Machhindranath at Pulchwok in Lalitpur on the eve of a month-long Rato Machhindranath festival on Saturday.

The chariot consists of a large wooden edifice of about 20m in height and 4.5m in diameter. The edifice built in the shikhar sailee (mountain structure) houses various reincarnations of Rato Machhindranath and other Hindu deities.

The month-long procession, which will conclude after the chariot crosses the river Bungamati in Lalitpur, ends with another festival called the Bhoto Jatra. Bhot Jatra is symbolically celebrated to find the owner of a vest gifted to a farmer of Lalitpur by a serpent.

A woman presses her forehead on the chariot’s front-end as a show of respect.

The festival is the longest chariot festival in Nepal which starts just before the beginning of monsoon.

The chariot festival ends with Bhoto Jatra in Jawlakhel. Thousands of people gather in Jawlakhel to see that Bhoto. The chariot is taken to the place called Bugamati after the end of Bhoto Jatra. Bungamati is the birth place of deity Machhindranath. The temple of Rato Machhindranath is located in southern part of Patan since 1673.

POST PHOTOS: SANJOG MANANDHAR

Published: 30-04-2017 08:54

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