Rato Machhendranath Jatra
Rato, or Red, Machhendranath is one of the patron deities of the Kathmandu
Valley, said to have come from ancient Kamrup in the eastern Himalaya in
mythical times. Although he resides most of the year in a temple in Bungamati,
on the south side of the Kathmandu Valley, his ritual procession, or Jatra,
takes place in Patan, across the river from Kathmandu. This year the deity is
mounted in his Rath, actually a small ornate temple mounted on wooden wheels and
surmounted by a wooden spire covered with pine boughs.
The mammoth wheels
represent four ferocious Bhairab gods and on the prow of the chariot is the
metal face of Karkot, the mythical King of the Nags, or snake deities. It is
thought that Rato Machendranath brings rain to the Valley farmers through the
aid of the snake gods.