Seto Machhindranath Jatra: Celebrating Divine Power and Welcoming Spring in Kathmandu

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Kathmandu, Apr 16: The Seto Machhindranath Jatra, a significant festival in Kathmandu, commenced on Tuesday, marking the beginning of a four-day celebration dedicated to honoring ‘Janbaha Dyo,’ the white Machindranath revered as the divine force of rain.

Each year on Chaite Dashain, the statue of Janbaha Dyo is ceremoniously taken from the Seto Machhindranath Temple in Janbaha. Adorned in a palanquin, the idol is carried by special Bajracharya priests, who meticulously maintain the deity and the temple, on their shoulders through the bustling streets of Indrachok, Ason, and Jamal to reach the Tindhara Pathsal.

Once at the Pathsal, the deity is placed on the first floor of a ten-story grand chariot constructed in the traditional Shikhar style. Each floor of the chariot symbolizes the abode of a different deity, while four large wheels, each representing Bhairava, support the structure.

The Jatra unfolds over four days, with the chariot being pulled through various routes across Kathmandu. On the first day, it journeys from Durbarmarg to Ratnapark and Bhotahiti before resting in front of the Annapurna temple at Asan Chowk. The following day sees the chariot’s progress from Asan through Balkumari, Keltol, Indrachok, and Makhan to Hanumandhoka, where it is stationed in front of Kalbhairav. On the third day, the route winds through Maru and Chikan to Lagan via Mughal.

The festival culminates with the circumambulation of the mother tree after two days of fasting. On the final day, following special prayers, the deity is reverently returned to Janabaha and reinstated in the Seto Machhindranath Temple. This auspicious occasion signifies the transition from winter to spring, symbolizing renewal and rejuvenation.

The Seto Machhindranath Jatra encapsulates the rich cultural heritage and spiritual significance of Kathmandu, fostering community cohesion and celebrating the divine power believed to bring prosperity and vitality to the city and its inhabitants.

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