Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 29:

The chariot festival of Seto Machhindranath, the god of rainfall and prosperity, started here today with spectators gathered in the four-lane road of Tindhara, in front of the Narayanhiti Roayal Palace, to see the 40-feet wooden chariot, decorated with grass and flowers, being pulled by two ropes by young men.

Buddhists of the Kathamndu valley worship the deity as Aryavalokiteshwar, the main god of Bajrayana Buddhism.Devotees preceded the procession with different traditional drums. Women, in particular, were seen chanting Buddhist devotional songs, with incense sticks in their hands. They believe that the chariot procession will bring in the rainy season and also help in a successful harvest.

The chariot will be taken around the city for the coming three days. The chariot passed along Ratna Park and Bhotahity before stopping at Ason. In the remaining days, the chariot will proceed along Indrachok, Makhan, Hanumandhoka, Chikanmugal, Jaisideval, Jyatha and finally to Lagan. On the last day, it will be brought back to its pagoda temple at Keltol in a palanquin by Bajracharya and Shakya priests.