Devotees pull chariot of Rato Machhindranath to Jawalakhel
Lalitpur, July 26
The chariot of Rato Machhindranath, the god of rain and harvest, was pulled from Lagankhel to Jawalakhel today.
This longest chariot festival in the Kathmandu Valley begins from Pulchowk, where the chariot of Rato Machhindranath is built. From Pulchowk the chariot is taken through Gabahal, Mangalbazaar, Patan Sundhara, Mikhabahal, Lagankhel, Thati and Kumaripati and is kept at Jawalakhel after the Bhoto Jatra, which falls on the fourth day of the arrival of the chariot in Jawalakhel.
This year, Bhoto Jatra will be celebrated on July 29. On the occasion, the bejeweled bhoto (vest) believed to be of Nagaraj, the serpent king, is displayed to the public in the presence of the head of the state.
The Hindus and the Buddhists from the Newar community celebrate the festival by towing the chariot to various places, including Jawalakhel, the venue for Bhoto Jatra. After the Jatra, devotees take the chariot to Bungmati.
“Machhindranath Jatra is the longest festival in the Valley. It is celebrated up to four months,” said Baikuntha Acharya, chief of the Guthi Sansthan, Lalitpur. This year the festival commenced on May 8.
Every year the trust organises the festival. Rato Machhindranath’s chariot festival began from the time of Malla King Narendra Dev. The festival begins before the onset of monsoon.
“The 32-feet high chariot is made of cane, wood, bamboo. The chariot and overall management of the festival will cost nearly Rs 4 million,” he informed.