The chariot Ride of Red Machhendranath
The cultural festival starts on the last week of May or early June. It is celebrated to offer worship to Machhendranath, the merciful patron god of offer worships to Machhendranath the merciful patron god of the valley of Kathmandu and the god of harvests. This spectral festival reflects important aspects of socio-cultural life of the valley and it lasts for several days.
Ratha (the chariot of gods) of tremendous size, about 48ft tall, is prepared at Pulchowk and hauled through the city of Patan in several stages and it is finally taken to Jawalakhel in an auspicious moment carefully calculated by astrologers. The festival culminates when the sacred waistcoat (Bhoto) is displayed for the entire populace to behold.
There are many myths related with the festival, however, the most influential one suggests that the festival is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of Lord Machhendra to protect the people of the valley from a fearful draught. The deity is believed to have brought rain with the help of serpent deities.
The entire population of the valley waits for the days of celebration with anticipation and people of all classes general people to royalties take part in the ceremony with equal enthusiasm.
People make tremendous efforts in the crowd to get near the ratha just to get a touch of it lumbers slowly, being pulled by thousands of people.
This Article and upcoming posts are extracted from the book, TOURIST INFORMATION DIRECTORY, 1997. by my Late Father Journalist, Sociologist & Anthropologists, Er. Ramesh Chandra Bandhu Bhattarai.