Rato Macchendranath Jatra

by samyak

Rato Macchendranath Jatra
Rato Macchendranath Jatra is the longest as well as the most important festival of Patan. It begins with several days of ceremonies and the fabrication of a wooden-wheeled chariot at Pulchowk, near the Ashoka Stupa. The chariot bears the shrine of the Rato (Red) Macchendranath (the Tantric expression of Lokeshwar) and carries a very tall spire fabricated from ” bamboo poles raised from four ends of the chariot. This unwieldy spire is around 10 meters tall and on account of which, the chariot balances precariously. It is said that calamity is certain to strike the land in the event of the chariot overturning or breaking down during the course of this festival. (Quite often, it does collapse!).Following the construction, the chariot is towed through the streets of Patan by throngs of devotees every day. Each day, it is put to rest in one of the many venerated spots in the city.This goes on for a month until it comes to rest on the big field outside the zoo and end with the Bhoto Jatra, another major festival, during which the bejewelled ‘bhoto’ of Machhendranath is displayed to the public.