Rato Machhindranath chariot procession. (File photo)
KATHMANDU: The chariot of Rato Machhindranath, the god of rain and good harvest, is being pulled today.
As per the tradition of pulling the chariot on the fourth day the deity is placed on the chariot, the chariot is being pulled today.
The chariot festival is held according to the lunar calendar, so the date is changeable. It begins on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bachhalā, in the seventh month in the lunar Nepal Sambat calendar.
According to Chandra Maharjan, the president of the Jyapu Society, s the procession would be carried out only 15 to 25 meters away from the Jogambar Peeth at Damkalchowk in Pulchowk.
As per the tradition, the chariot was shaken after the morning worship and now will be pulled in the afternoon.
The organizers have assured that they will abide by the COVID-19 health protocols.
The Rato Machhindranath is worshiped as the deity of rains and a good harvest. The myth suggests that Guru Gorakhnath was his disciple.
Once Yogi Gorakhnath had visited Kantipur (now Kathmandu Valley) and got angry as he was denied Viksha (offerings) by the Kantipur folks. Enraged Yogi (saint) made a sit upon serpents believed to bring rains for 12 years.
As a result, Kantipur suffered a severe drought throughout these years and it put the people’s life at great misery. People were desperate to find a solution to the drought. In course of seeking the ways to please the angry deity, it was realized that it would be possible if his Guru Machhindranath was made to arrive Kantipur.
A team of the then Bhaktapur’s king Narendra Dev, Kathmandu’s Guru Bandhu Dutta Acharya and Lalitpur’s farmer Rathachakra was formed to bring Machhindranath to Kantipur from Kamarupkamakhya of Assam.
On the way back home, one idea clicked the mind of Rathchakra. He thought that it would be a fortune of the Lalitpur folks if the deity was made to reside in Patan. He succeeded in his plan citing that night had already fallen and they could not continue their journey ahead. King Narendradev and Guru Acharya were convinced by him and agreed to stay in Patan that night.
The farmer during the night made it possible to meet the Patan’s king in secret and finally, Rato Machhindranath was put in Patan by using other tricks thereafter.
Upon the knowing the arrival of his Guru in the town, Yogi Gorakhnath stood from his seat to pay homage to the former and serpents got a time to get free. Then the rain occurred and the problem was solved. The festival is celebrated in the commemoration of the same myth.