Rato Machhindranath’s chariot undergoing repairs

Himalayan News Service

Lalitpur, May 7:

The chariot of Machhindranath, which fell apart at Sundhara on April 25, is undergoing repairs, reusing the materials from the same ill-feted chariot. A long debate had taken place on whether to reconstruct the chariot or go for repairs. According to traditional craftsmen, the work is going to complete before June 4 as this is the last day of the auspicious month. If the repairs are not completed within this time limit, then it will have to wait till September.

"The auspicious time for the completion of the chariot is till June 4 or from August 31 to September 5," said Nichay Raj Shakya, president of the Association of Priests. Shakya has been a priest for the last 21 years. He has also been leading the chariot procession for the last five years. According to him, the period between June and September is not favourable for ending the festival. "The chariot will be repaired, replacing the damaged parts with new ones," said Hari Prasad Joshi, Guthi Sansthan chief.

"Wood is not enough and the government has to give permission for felling selected species of trees from the forest," said Joshi. He stated that currently there were around 20 workers helping with the construction work and it would cost approximately Rs 600,000. However, the official estimate has not yet been done. "We plan to make ready the chariot by May 20 on which day the deity will have to be installed inside the temple, " said Joshi. He said that all the work was being done according to auspicious timings.

The annual procession of Rato Machhindranath, commonly known as Bunga-dyo, lasts for over a month. It is said to be the longest festival celebrated in the Valley. The red-faced deity of Lord Machhindranath is revered both by the Buddhists and the Hindus as the god of rain and prosperity. The Royal family also participates in the "bhoto-displaying" ceremony that marks the end of the festival.