The 1600-year-old Rato Machhindranath Jatra (Festival) is a festival celebrated in dedication to the Lord of the Rain in the Kathmandu valley. It is the most ancient Jatra in Nepal and is taken as one of the most significant festivals in Patan. During this festival, the chariot will be pulled once it is constructed to the major deities in the valley and taken to the open space of the Jawalakhel of Lalitpur, and the Bhoto Show Jatra is organized as a concluding part. It is celebrated in Patan, but the popularity is increasing and it has become a Jatra of all the devotees and people around the globe.
Rato Machhindranath Chariot (Rath) and its Pulling Route
The 32 feet high Rato Machhindranath Chariot is pulled in Patan with a plea of rain to fight drought. The chariot is made out of bamboo and wood and the Lord Macchindranath's statue is placed in the chariot. The chariot is pulled throughout the town- of Patan, with a route of Natole, Gabahal, Mangal Bazaar, Sundhara, Lagankhel, and Kumaripati, and ends in Jawalakhel with a Bhoto Jatra. Machhindranath is worshipped as a God of rain, who was brought from Assam of India after the valley suffered from the drought. This festival concludes with a Bhoto Jatra Festival, where the Bhoto (cloth) is displayed in Jawalakhel by the head of the state of Nepal.
Bhoto Jatra Story
According to the myth, the King of the snakes- Nagaraj was wandering here to search the medicine and treatment for His wife's illness of eyes. He was transferred as a human and walked throughout the field. He saw a farmer plowing the field and thought that he was the person that could cure his wife. He asked are you the person who can cure the diseases? Poor farmer did not know what to say, and in hurries, he said yes. Then Nagaraj came into his real form and asked that he want to take him to his place to cure his wife. The farmer came in real trouble. Finally, we went to the place of Nagaraj.
The farmer did not know how to cure the illness of Nagaraj's wife's eye problem. So he pretended to apply his Mantras and took out some of the stuff from the back side of his ear and gave it to his wife saying that do the medicare twice a day in the eyes. Miraculously, after some days, the illness was gone. Nagaraj became so happy and asked the farmer what he wants. The farmer loved the Bhoto (a piece of cloth) that Nagaraj was wearing full of diamonds and asked for that one. Nagaraj offered it without a delay.
Now, the farmer started to roam around with the same Bhoto. He was working in the field by taking off the Bhoto and at the time, one monster named Lakhe stole it and ran away. The farmer after the work searching for his Bhoto but could not found and came back home in depressed mode.
Time passed. One day, the farmer went to explore the Machhindranath festival (Jatra) to Jawalakhel. Coincidentally, the Lakhe monster who had stolen his Bhoto was also there in it. In angry mode, the farmer went near to the monster and asked the Bhoto. Even the monster refused to give the Bhoto claiming it to be his own. There was a huge debate and it went to the King. The king asked who belongs to that Bhoto. Finally, both of them offered good claims that could not be declared.
The dispute could not take any decision. At last, they agreed to leave the Bhoto to the Machhindranath and went to their house and they were expected to come to the same place tomorrow with other claims. The next day, nobody came. From the Machhindranath chariot, the Bhoto was displayed from all four directions, but nobody was there to make a claim. After that, it was taken as a gift to Machhindranath and the Bhoto Show Jatra started as a part of the Machhindranath Jatra Festival in Jawalakhel.
During this festival, the head of the state (president) comes and displays the Bhoto every year.