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Chariots festivals are a big thing in Nepal. Next week comes an exceptional one: the chariot pulling of the God of Rain Rato Machhendranath on a special trip, which is only held every 12 years!

The rainy season starts in April-May in Nepal. The purpose of this festival – celebrated by both Hindus and Buddhists  – is to pray for a generous and balanced monsoon, for the rice crop in the paddy fields.

Seto Macchendranath

Rato Machhendranath, the God of Rain, is being groomed, worshipped and sent off to his summer home.

The deity spends 6 months of the year at his resident temple in the ancient city of Patan (on the outskirts of Kathmandu) and the rest in his second home, the village of Bungamati, a traditional Newar town located 7kms outside of Patan.

Bungamati village april

harvest in Bungamatin village

Harvest time in the picturesque Bungamati village

Every year the deity is carried from one town to the other, in a small palanquin, but every 12 years he makes the trip in a specially constructed 18m (60-feet) tall chariot!

This year, on April 22nd the chariot carrying the God will be pulled from Bungamati to Patan along a hilly and far from smooth road. The pulling will take about 2 weeks – that is if its immense size doesn’t get it into trouble…

Seto Macchendranath chariot old photographs
Seto Macchendranath chariot old photographs_03
Seto Macchendranath chariot old photographs_04

Seto Macchendranath chariot old photographs_05

Vintage photographs of occasions when the chariot collapsed, because of various factors, such as state of the road, parts of buildings sticking out, or more recently electric cables.


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