Hotel Shanker Lazimpat Kathmandu 44600 Nepal

When one thinks of a chariot festival in sure you're thinking of the, Indra Jatra, Biska Jatra or Rato Matysendranth. These festivals are the biggest in each Kingdom of the then Nepal Valley, but one chariot festival when is as historic as the three is not so known of : The Chariot Festival of Aryavalokiteswara Jana Baha Dyo. When the city of Kantipur(Kathmandu) was founded by King Gunakamadeva he arranged two chariot festivals to be held in his new city. "He arranged the procession of Indra Jatra accompanied by the Kumari Group. He also wished to establish the procession of Lokesvara just as in Patana, and therefore made an image of Khasarpalokesvara, performed the rityakl starting with invocation, arranged a procession, and caused it to be celebrated every year." Bajracharya, Micheals (2016: 59) Origin The original site of the monastery Khasarapalokesvara is believed to have been Hamhal Monastery which today is the pond of Rani Pokhari. The chariot festival was which was celebrated every year, is said to have stopped during the end of the Lichhavi Era, it is believed that the temple was destroyed during the raid of Mukunda-sena, the King of Palpa who raided Kathmandu. "The victorious soldiers broke and disfigured the images of the gods, sent the Bhairava placed in front of Machchindranatha to their own country, Palpa and Butawal." Wright (1877:171) Rediscovery After which the temple was lost to time, the chariot festival must have been stopped. During the reign of Yaksha Malla some potters, while digging for clay, found an image of Lokeswara, which had been made by Gunakamadeva Raja, but which had been buried under the ruins of the temple that fell down in the time of the Thakuri Rajas. The image henseforth was named Yamaleswara, and the place where it was dug up was called Yamal (Today called Jamal)." Wright (1877:189) "The king, having seen the image, performed the rituals of renovation; took the image inside the city and established it by building a large temple." Bajracharya, Micheals (2016: 90) After which during the period of King Pratap Malla, he reintroduced the chariot festival of Sena Machchhindra. "Pratapa Malla, then rebuilt the chariot of Lokesvara, the white Matsyendra, according to tradition. He had Lokesvara placed on the chariot and initiated an annual procession that moved the chariot around the city." Bajracharya, Micheals (2016: 106) It is believed that the deity was later shifted from Hambal Monastery, Yamala (Jamal) to Ket Tol (Jana Bahal), during the process of building the Rani Pokhari by King Pratapa Malla in 1670 AD. The Procession 
The chariot procession is marked for Chaituya Dashain, for which the chariot is building process is commenced a week prior. A group of traditional builders with the help of volunteers build the 4 storied chariot shaped in Shikhara architecture. The chariot is to various parts of the inner city( Old city) of Kathmandu. It is said that the procession must be completed before the full moon, for which the chariot is pulled within 3 days and on the third day a special puja is conducted and the image Jana Baha Dyo is taken back to the temple at Jana Bahal. The chariot is makes it’s way from Durbar Marg to Bhotahity and rests in Asan on the first day. After which it is pulled to Ket Tol, Indra Chowk, and rests in Hanuman Dhoka. On the final day it makes its way through Basantapur Durbar Square, Jasidega and circles the mother tree three times in Lagan. The festival since time and milennia has been a way for the community to come together in merry celebration. Revellers rejoice in pulling the chariot and members of the community place offerings and prayers to Seto Matysendranath as it makes its way to their community. A tradition more than 300 years old still finds a heart in the modern city of Kathmandu, and seeing the next generation take interest in preserving their tradition by participating in the endeavours makes one quaint that it shall be around for more years to come.


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