Machhindranath, Buddhist deity of water and rain. Revered by medieval kings in Kathmandu Valley as guardian deity of Kathmandu Valley. Said to have been other names Padampani, Lokeswor, Avalokiteswor, Aryavalokotiswor, Karunamaya. Regarded as fish incarnation of LOKESWOR (hence also known as Matsyendranath) Distinguished as RATO MACHHENDRANATH (red) of patan and SETO MACHHENDRANATH (white) of Kathmandu. Feted in various festivals like BHOTO JATRA and public bathing ritual.
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 in Jawalakher and end with the Bhoto Jatra, another major festival, during which the bejewelled ‘bhoto’ of Machhindranath is displayed to the public.
The black velvet, jeweled vest (Bhoto) also has its own story. Legend says it was given to a farmer by Karkot Naga in reward for curing eye ailment of his Queen. But it got stolen. After sometime when the farmer was attending Machhindranath festival at Jawalakhel, he saw someone wearing the same vest. A quarrel ensued between the farmer and the man wearing the vest. Karkot Naga was also at the festival in human form. He settled the quarrel and submitted the Bhoto to Machhindranath for safe keeping. From that day on every year the Bhoto is shown to the people assuring them that it is safe.
It is also believed that the Rato Machhindranath was brought from Assam, India by a farmer to Lalitpur valley to prevent a drought during the rice season. The longest running chariot festival in Lalitpur recreates this event in hope for good rain. It is known as Bundyo to local Newars. The festival begins with the construction of the chariot in Pulchowk and ends with the Bhoto Jatra festival in Jawalakhel. It is celebrated by Buddhists and Hindus of Newar community by carrying the chariot to different places in the town of Patan.
All pics (taken with in 7 years) by Rajesh KC