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FestivalsFestivals Machhindranath Jatra

Rato Machhindranath Jatra is the longest-running chariot festival in Nepal. Held in Patan, the festival is dedicated to the “God of Rain,” An approximately 50 feet sky- scraping chariot of Rato Machhindranath is constructed annually by the Newar community using wooden beams, cane and bamboo, thumped adjustments to the shrine sanctum without using a single nail. Devotees pull the chariot to different localities in Patan which is accompanied by music played by traditional Newari instruments such as ‘DHIME’ (traditional drums), ‘BHUSHYA’ (brass cymbals) and traditional Newari dance. Another smaller chariot of “Minnath” the embodiment of Lord Shiva is pulled by young boys. As per time, on certain days, when the Rath reached a place named “Iti,” it is only pulled by women for a few meters of distance only by females is called Yakah Misaya Bhyjya. This very part also shows that in the Newar community there is equality among males and females. When the procession reaches ‘Lagankhel’ a coconut is thrown from the top of the chariot. There is a belief that whoever catches the coconut will have an auspicious year ahead. At Lagankhel, it rests for more than four days and finally reaches Jawalakhel The month-long procession ends with Bhoto Jatra, a ceremony where a jewelled vest is exhibited by the head state of government officials in the presence of the town’s living goddess “Kumari.” People believe that their sincere reverence for the compassionate god Machhindranath will bring favourable rainfall, a bountiful harvest, and a prosperous year.

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