Bunga Dyah (Rato Macchindranath)

  • 19/05/2020

Bunga Dyah! Is commonly known as the rato macchindratnath to the most of the Nepalese. Although Rato Macchindranath is considered a tantric reincarnation of the Buddhist deity of compassion Avalokiteshvara, it also has a significant place in Hindu culture as well. Rato Machhindranth is considered as the god of rain (giver or rain) and an avatar of Lord Shiva.

Every year the chariot festival (Jatra) is held according to the lunar calendar in honor of Rato Macchindranath. It is one the greatest religious spectacle and the longest chariot festival celebrated in Nepal.

As per the mythology, In the licchavi era of King Narendra Dev (640-683 A.D), a great sage named Gorakhshanath visited Patan and captured all the rain giving serpents of Patan and started to meditate after he was disappointed by the locals as they did not grant him any alms on his request. As a result patan went through a great drought and famine for many years causing death and misery upon its dwellers. Then the king Narendra Dev, taking the advice of his advisers brought Machindranath, the guru of Gorakshanath from Assam, India to Patan with the help of tantric Bandhudatta Acharya, Rathchakra Lalit and Karkotak Naga. Upon hearing the arrival of his guru in Patan, Gorakhshanath released all the serpents and the rains fell upon the city again. After that day Macchindranath was worshipped as the god of rain. To reenact and to honor Machindrantha the chariot festival is held every year on a certain period of the lunar calendar.

The Jatra starts with the construction of the 60 feet chariot in Pulchowk, Lalitpur. Upon its completion the idol of Bunga Dyah is installed and the chariot is dragged around the streets of Lalitpur on a tour by the reveler which lasts almost a month. The chariot of Bunga Dyah is accompanied by a smaller one of Chakuwa Dyah, a bodhisattva also known as the Minnath. The jatra concludes on the open grounds of Jawlakhel with the ceremony of Bhoto Jatra.

Bhoto Jatra too has its own mythological story behind it. Bhoto is a traditional Neapalese.

As the legend goes a Jyapu (a Newar Farmer) healed the ill wife of a Nagaraja by giving her his “khiti”, the dirt from his sweaty hands. So as a gift of generosity, the nagaraja gave his jewel studded bhoto to the farmer. The farmer wore his prized possession every day and everywhere but one day he took it off while tending his farm. A “Lakhe”(Demon in the folklores of Nepal) saw the jewel studded bhoto unattended and stole it. The farmer searched for the bhoto everwhere but to no avail. Then later during the chariot festival of Machindranath, the farmer got hold of the Lakhe wearing his bhoto, who also came to witness the festival. A long argument and quarrel ensued and still neither the Farmer not the Lakhe could produce enough evidence to prove the ownership of the Bhoto. It was then decided to leave the bhoto with Macchindranath until anyone could come up with adequate proof of ownership. Since then every year the bhoto is displayed after the chariots arrive in Jawlakhel calling upon the rightful claimants.

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