Kshama Puja performed amid curfew a day after devotees clashed with cops at Pulchwok


Chariot Procession Management Taskforce and Jyapu Samaj performed Kshama Puja at Pulchowk, in Lalitpur, today.

The religious ceremony was held in the presence of priests and concerned officials amid curfew clamped by the Lalitpur District Administration Office following a violent clash between the locals and riot police on Thursday. A meeting of the taskforce and Jyapu Samaj had decided last night to perform the Kshama Puja to seek forgiveness for the sins that people might have committed.

They reached a consensus to complete all rituals of Rato Machhindranath from the same place where the irate youths had pulled the chariot yesterday. The chariot is being guarded by security personnel.

The clash had erupted after the police used force on hundreds of youths, who had gathered in Pulchowk and started pulling the chariot of Rato Machhindranath, despite ‘repeated requests’ from the local administration and police to avoid religious activities during the ongoing battle against the COVID pandemic. The event had been halted for the past one month due to the lockdown imposed by the government.

Saroj Thapaliya, spokesperson for Guthi Sansthan, said the taskforce, Jyapu Samaj and other stakeholders had reached an agreement with the authorities to perform the rituals. Priests will confirm the auspicious hour and day for taking the idol of Rato Machhindranath to Bungmati from Pulchowk on September 7. A member of the taskforce said the auspicious hour for lifting the idol from the chariot of the rain god might be scheduled for September 11.

Malamash (Nepali month during which any auspicious work is not done as per the lunar calendar) begins from Asoj 2 (September 18) and hence the idol should be taken to Bungmati, its destination, before the beginning of the ‘month of misery’. Dashain festival begins after the end of Malamash. As per the legend, the chariot should be in place in its Bungmati-based temple for the celebration of Dashain.

Guthi Sansthan has decided to withhold Bhoto Jatra this year.

It is also called the festival of displaying the Bhoto — a jewel-studded vest — of the rain god to thousands of devotees in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, at the presence of the head of the state. It used to be celebrated on the fourth day of the chariot of Rato Machhindranath reaching Jawalakhel or the last day of the chariot procession.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 5, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.