This longest ceremonial pulling of the huge four wheeled chariots begins in mid-April at Patan, Pulchowk ,Nepal and continues for a month. It is believed that this festival was introduced by King Narendra Deva in the 9th century A.D.This festival symbolizes the annual visit of the Lord on earth and is celebrated for the peace and prosperity of the countrymen.The festival begins with the construction of the chariot in Pulchowk, and ends with the Bhoto Jatra festival (ceremonial display of his jewel studded legendary vest) in Jawalakhel ,Lalitpur.
Rato(red) Machhindranath (also Matsyendranath) is worshipped as the God of rain and harvest, who by legend was brought from Assam, India to Kathmandu valley in Patan ,Lalitpur to prevent a drought .He was guru of Gorakhnath and also the founder of "Hatha yoga"(a branch of Yoga).Machhindranath was born out of fish's womb.
It is said that once Lord Gorakhnath on his visit to Kathmandu valley got annoyed as nobody noticed him while seeking alms and sat in "samadhi" on the serpents (the cause of rain ) which then resulted a serious drought in the valley .The great Tantrik "Acharya Bandhudatta" suggested the then king Narendra Dev to invite the Lord Machhindranath so that Gorakhnath would stand up to greet his "Guru" and the serpents would be freed and then it would rain .So the king brought Lord Machhindranath to the valley from India .Knowing that Lord Machhindranath was in the valley ,Gorakhnath stood up to greet him and thus the serpents were freed and started raining which then took away the drought .Ever since started the festival of pulling the chariot of machhindranath to honour him
This the chariot of the Rato Machhindranath.The chariot stands so tall as if it touches the sky.One has to climb high to view the statue of the Machhindranath kept on the upper part of the chariot .
The giant wheels of the chariot . A lot of enery is needed to pull these wheels . A large number of men gather in the festival to pull the chariot . Interesting huh!!
The Meennath (also called CHAKUWA DYO or Gorakhnath) is the great disciple of Rato Machhindranath and worshiped as a deity of religion.Meennath also has a beautiful chariot which is a little smaller than that of Rato Machhindranath.It is a tradition that the Machhindranath's chariot cannot move until the Meennath's chariot arrives the ceremonail spot .
It is believed that once a queen whose husband had just died suddenly got aroused. Machhindranath felt sorry for her and he with his powers entered the dead body of the king and quenched the queen's desires.During he himself got captivated that he forgot to leave the king' body.Seeing his "Guru" drifting away from his responsibilities , Meennath changed himself into even more beautiful woman than the Queen and walked into the room where his Guru and the queen lived .Skillfully he brought his master out of it and made him aware of his duties .After that Rato Macchindranath always wanted Gorakhnath to accompany him to everywhere.
And ever since it became a tradition that both the chariots are to be pulled together .
The chariot of Meennath decorated colorfully .This chariot is a little smaller in size than the first one .He always accompanies the Machhindranath .
The long wooden rod carved with the statue of the "Bhairav"(God of protection) in the front. This is attached to the chariot and is built for the pulling of the chariot .