Seto Machhindranath Jatra begins today

KATHMANDU, APR 07 -

Considered one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Kathmandu, Seto Machhindranath Jatra, a chariot procession dedicated to the god of rain, begins from Monday.

The festival kicks off with the temporary shipment of an idol of Seto Machhindranath from its temple at Kel Tole in Basantapur Durbar Square to a chariot built by local Newars at Durbarmarg. The holy chariot is pulled by hundreds of devotees to Jamal and then to Ason.

The chariot, which is the main attraction of the festival, is a wooden tower built in Sikhar Sailee (a mountain-like structure). The chariot is supported by four huge wheels, each representing separate avatars of Bhairav, the lord of aggression. The chariot is divided into 10 storeys, each of which is considered to be the houses of lords Indra, Barun, Kuber, Agni, Nairithya, Bayubya, Bramha, Mahadev and Narayan, respectively. The idol of Seto Machhindranath is perched at the first storey of the temple-like structure of the chariot. The section, decorated with precious stones, is supposed to be guarded by two other idols of two avatars of Goddess Tara.

The festival of Seto Machhindranath also coincides with another Hindu festival of Chaite Dashain, also known as the miniature version of the Dashain festival celebrated around October, and is celebrated on the eighth day of the lunar month of Chaitra, six month prior to the main Dashain festival.

The three-day chariot procession is celebrated in a designated route that goes through Ason, Indrachowk and surrounding areas to Lagan in Basantapur. The first day of the divine procession covers Jamal, Ratnapark, Bhotahity and Ason. On the second day, the procession is taken out from Ason to Balkumari, Kel Tole, Indra Chowk, Makhan and rests in Hanumandhoka. On the final day, the chariot moves through Hanumandhoka, Maru, Chikmugal, Jaisidewal, Jya Baha and finally reaches Lagan Tole. On the fourth day, the image of the god is restored at the temple of Machhindranath in Kel Tole. At every stop en route to the final destination, devotees pay homage and make offerings to the god residing in the grand chariot. 

Posted on: 2014-04-07 10:14