Rato Machindranath Jatra

Festival

Rato Machindranath is worshipped as the god of rain. The festival starts just before the monsoon begins in Kathmandu. It is mainly celebrated by Buddhists and Hindus of Newar community in Patan. It is known as Bundyo to Newars. This jatra is believed to have started in 11th century, it is chariot festival of Nepal. It is the longest running chariot festival in Nepal. Rato Machindranath is also known by the name such as Padampani, Avalokiteswor, Aryavalokotiswor, Lokeswor and Karunamaya. This jatra is celebrated as a prayer for good rain so that there is a good harvest. The deity of Rato Machindranath Rath is shared with the village of Bungamati. Every 12th year the chariot itself has to be taken to Bungamati.

machindranath jatra patan

It begins at Pulchowk Lalitpur with the construction of 32 feet high chariot. The chariot is made using the cane, wood, bamboo. It is built about 1 km away from Machindranath’s temple which is located in the southern part of the Patan Durbar Square. The chariot is pulled through the old city of Patan and is stopped at many places during the duration of the Jatra, which typically lasts a month. On the day the chariot is pulled, another chariot is also pulled which is known as the chariot of Minanath. Minanath is regarded as the creator God and Machindranath as the breeder God.

machindranath jatra patan

When the Jatra begins thousands of people assemble to observe and worship the fair. The chariot is pulled through gahabal, mangalbazar, sundhara, lagankhel and jawalakhel where it ends. At lagankhel, a coconut is dropped from the top of the chariot and it is believed that whoever grabs the coconut will have their wishes fulfilled. Many people compete to catch the dropped coconut. Again, the coconut receiver offers the coconut to the chariot with some donation. After the chariot reaches Thali the next morning only women pull the chariot. During the chariot procession traditional Newari bands and Sarduljung battalion plays their band. The festival ends with the Bhoto jatra in jawalakhel. Thousands of people along with foreigners amass on that day to observe Bhoto jatra. The head of the state graces the fete. After Bhoto jatra, the chariot is dismantled and the idol of the Machindranath is taken to Bungamati.

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