The effective God of rain in the shape of fish with red coloration called Rato Machindranath is the center of devotion to the festive known as Rato Machindranath Jatra. It is a one-month-long competition that is well known from the third day of the bright Lunar fortnight within the month of Baishakh every year.
It’s celebrated by the Newari people of Kathmandu Valley. Rato Machindranath is worshipped on this occasion with the belief that God Rato Machindranath helps to held rain at the proper time for harvesting and planting and prevent people from life-threatening dearth.
Legends Behind the Rato Machindranath Jatra
It’s far believed that King Bardev had begun this competition around 662 B.S. There may be an exclusive legend approximating the origin of Rato Machindranath Jatra.
One of the most believed legends about the Gorakhnath is the scholar of Machindranath residing in Assam of India. He came to Kathmandu Valley and asked for services; however, each people refuse to give services to him. This makes Gorakhnath furious.
Via his competencies, he determined that the principal motive for rain in the Kathmandu valley is due to the serpent residing at the lakes of Kathmandu Valley. So, he uses a spell and manipulates all the snakes, and abstains from the rain’s valley. Quickly, drought and famine hit every nook of the valley.
The people try to determine the motive for having a drought and subsequently located out the basic purpose of Gorakhnath meditation.
King Bardev, at that point, took the initiative and pleaded with Guru Machindranath for the assist. Guru Machindranath accepted the invitation and got here to Kathmandu Valley. Knowing about the visit of Guru Machindranath to his region, Gorakhnath ends up his meditation to visit him.
After finishing up meditation, the serpent of all lakes is loose from his spell. After a few days, the rain poured all the way down to Kathmandu, finishing up a life-taking drought. So, from that day, Rato Machindranath Jatra is carried out to expose gratitude to Guru Machindranath.
Bhoto Jatra Story in Nepal
Showing the vest; in the Nepalese idiom, ‘Bhoto,’ is vital to this festival. So, this ceremony is likewise frequently called ‘Bhoto Jatra.’ The inauguration of displaying ‘Bhoto’ in this ceremony is believed to be started by King Gunkamdev.
There’s a unique legend for showing vest on this occasion. One of the frequently heard is of Jyapu physician of Khwopa (Bhaktapur). Throughout the reign of Gunkamdev, it is believed that the King of the serpent, Nagraj, and his spouse of the Karkotaka family used to live on the Taudaha Lake at Kirtipur.
One day, the spouse of Nagraj got the hassle in her eye. So, for her medication, he seeks for a physician and came to know about the Jyapu doctor at Khwopa. Nagraj went to that physician and pleaded for assistance and Jyapu’s medical doctor went with him to remedy her.
After the medication for a few days, the wife of Nagraj recovered. Pleased by the physician’s work, Nagraj gave him a treasured vest with diamonds studded on it. The doctor loves that vest so much and attends every and each ceremony wearing it. One of the ghosts is looking at him in all of the ceremonies, and that ghost turns desirous to get that vest.
At some point, the physician is traveling to the field to see his plants, and he took off that vest and kept it on close by the field. The desirous ghost found that as the most favorable time and stole that vest. When the physician determined that his vest was lost and search everywhere but could not find the vest.
The years passed as typical physicians went to Lalitpur to attend Rato Machindranath Jatra. Distinctly, he saw that ghost wearing that identical vest that he used to wear at that festival. A physician claimed that the vest is his; however, that ghost denied it, and a dispute arises among them. To settle the matter, they went to King Gunkamdev.
Listening to each of them, King Gunkamdev was unsatisfied and instructed them to deliver enough evidence to claim that vest. Understanding this, the physician went to Nagraj for help. Nagraj promised the doctor that he’d attend in that festive form of a human, taller than a normal human sporting white cloth. Nagraj also told that once he attends the festive, the wind will arise so that the physician would understand that Nagraj is around him.
As per promise, the physician went to attend Rato Machindranath Jatra. The huge wind takes place, and the physician realizes that Nagraj is there. He looks right here, and there, however, could not apprehend Nagraj.
King Gunkamdev waits for the evidence. However, no one came. At final, the king decided to show that vest from the four corners of the sacred carriage of God Rato Machindranath to know whose vest is that.
However, due to the loss of proof, neither physician nor that ghost could come in front of King. Every year at the ceremony of Rato Machindranath, that vest is shown, and asks, “Who’s vest is this?”. Later, it became a part of a culture that continues to be followed at present.
So, ‘Bhoto Jatra‘ is one of the unsolved court cases in the history of Nepal. Newari Buddhist people also worship God Rato Machindranath, so they have reason to celebrate in this ceremony and took participate in it along with Hindu Newari people. It’s celebrated at Lalitpur of Kathmandu Valley.
As a whole, Rato Machindranath has tremendous religious value in Nepalese society. It’s the synonym of peace, prosperity, spiritual harmony, justice, love, and gratitude.
Also Read: History of Biket jatra in Nepal
RITUALS PERFORMED: in Rato Machindranath Jatra
Rato Machindranath Jatra has a month-lengthy ritual to be finished. The development of a sacred carriage for God Rato Machindranath begins many weeks before the beginning of the festival. This sacred carriage is ready from bamboo, wood, jute thread, and lots of extras. The construction of this sacred carriage is accomplished at Pulchowk, Lalitpur of Kathmandu Valley. This carriage ought to be about 11-yard height. Along with this, some other small carriage known as Minanath, within the local idiom, is constructed for God Minanath, who’s believed to be the God of creation.
On the 3rd day of a bright lunar fortnight of Baishakh month, a day before the festive, a cow is bestowed to the competition’s high priest. Then, on the fourth day of the bright lunar fortnight of Baishakh, the ceremony begins. The most exciting part is the pulling of the sacred carriage all through the city begins.
The pulling of both the large carriage of Rato Machindranath and the small carriage of Minanath starts from Pulchowk, Lalitpur, where it is built. The carriage is pulled to various tole of the Lalitpur metropolis. Dhime Baja, bansuri, and Jhyamta are performed, and their sound is echoed throughout the entire metropolis.
Spectators are watching the festive from their residences with their eyes wide open. The entire environment is energetic and full of amusement. While pulling off the carriage through the locality, people come out of their houses with imparting to God Rato Machindranath and God Minanath. They worship with wonderful devotion. They pray for the peace, well-being, and prosperity of the family members too. Youngsters, along with elders, including men and women, pull the carriage through various toles enthusiastically.
After circulating the carriage through the diverse locality, it is finally pulled up to Jwalakhel, Lalitpur. At Jawalakhel, devotees throw Bread named “Yomari & Chatamari” to God Rato Machindranath in this event with the notion that rain might be held on time to harvest and plant. So, the name of this vicinity is known as Jwalakhel because of its Yomari & Chatamari throwing activity on this occasion.
After deciding the fortunate time, on the fourth day of the sacred carriage at Jawalakhel, the vest so-known as ‘Bhoto‘ is shown from the sacred carriage of Rato Machindranath in the presence of the living Goddess of Nepal Kumari, President of Nepal, Prime Minister of Nepal and different government officials.
The town is overcrowded to take a look at the ‘Bhoto’ because it is believed that observing at ‘Bhoto’ on this day save you people from horrific omen for the rest of the year.
After finishing, displaying of ‘Bhoto‘ to the general public in the end, the statue of God Rato Machindranath is resettled to its unique vicinity at Bungmati Temple of Lalitpur. With the resettlement of deity, a month-lengthy festival ends officially.