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Bhoto Jatra marked amid much fanfare

KATHMANDU, JUN 28 - The last day of the month-long Rato Machhendranath Jatra, also Bhoto Jatra, was celebrated in Patan on Sunday by displaying the bejeweled bhoto (vest) to people gathered at Jawalakhel.

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Vice President Paramananda Jha, Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal and Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang attended the bhoto exhibition.

It is a traditionally followed culture from time immemorial to find the owner of the bhoto. It is believed that the bhoto will be continued to be displayed on this particular day until the real owner comes to claim it, from among the crowd with evidences. Four days after the chariot of Machhendranath is brought at Jawlakhel, the bhoto is shown to the mass thrice.

According to legends and myths, Bhoto Jatra is celebrated to look for the real owner of the bhoto, which was lost eon ago by a Jyapu (Newar) farmer of Kathmandu. The  festival dates back to 13th century.

A Tibetan pilgrim known as Dharma Swami has mentioned in his travelogue that this jatra started in 13th century. However, historians say it was already an old tradition before the travelogue was written. “The travelogue only records the tradition when the author first saw it,” said culture expert Padum Shrestha. “But in Newar community, it is believed that this tradition dates back to Satya Yuga, when deities would walk on the earth.

According to one of the legends, the black velvet, jewelled bhoto was given to the Jyapu farmer by Karkotaka Naga in reward for curing eye ailment of his queen. But soon afterwards he lost the bhoto. Later when the farmer was attending Machhendranath festival at Jawalakhel, he saw someone wearing the same vest. A quarrel ensued between them. Karkotaka Naga was also at the festival in human disguise. He settled the quarrel and gave the bhoto to Machhendranath declaring that whoever comes with evidence could take back the vest. But as none of them could show proofs. Since then it was put on a public display in the jatra.

Posted on: 2011-06-29 08:53

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