Lalitpur, April 28:

As the chariot of Rato Machhindranath tilted towards right after it was pulled just 100 metres, the locals have decided not to move it until it is repaired.

The chariot that was pulled from Pulchowk on April 21 came to a halt in six days upon reaching Sundhara of Patan. A chariot construction expert speculated that its inner structure was either displaced or broken and needed to be closely inspected by uncovering its outer layer.

“A meeting of members of the Guthi Sansthan, Jyapu Samag, Panju (priests), astrologers, Yanwal, Barahi and Ghaku groups, decided to inspect the chariot and adjourn the procession until it is either repaired,” said Purusottam Paudel, chief of Guthi Sansthan, Lalitpur.

“It has been speculated that the skeleton pillars of the chariot, called lansis, were either displaced or broken when the chariot -pulling started,” said Paudel, adding that if the technicians find any damage there, the pinnacle of the chariot has to be removed and as the traditional rule governs, the idol has to be taken out that will delay the process by 15 days.

Four wooden pillars (lansi) — 36 feet tall and 10 centimetre in diameter — are tied to four directions of the chariot and the bunch is wrapped with reeds — this has been the mechanism of chariot construction for over a thousand years.

“A team performed a puja to carry out inspection in its structure yesterday. According to astrologers, once the idol is taken out it has to be finished within 15 days. This is the first time that the chariot is being inspected like this. In 2004, it toppled at Sundhara, injuring eight people,” Chiri Babu Maharjan, president of Jyapu Samag.

The Guthi Sansthan estimated Rs 1.2 million budget for the construction of the chariot and for entire festival activities, Paudel said. As part of precautionary measures, the Laltipur sub-metropolitan city, District Administration Office and Guthi Sansthan came up with the basket fund for the precautionary measures during the procession in 2005. The rules set time limit and manage the crowd by the volunteers to make the procession systematic and less dangerous.