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The annual festival of Rato Matayendranath, dubbed the longest chariot festival is the world is drawn to a close with the infamous bhoto jatra. The chariot begins its journey after the construction of the chariot, which is when pulled by revellers through the ancient roads of the city of Lalitpur.

Once the chariot festival reaches its final destination in the Jawalakhel, where it is placed for four days for religious observance. The bhoto is shown to a to the crowd, which is believed to rid all those who see it of there sins. It draws a large crowd, with from dignitaries to layman, from all over Nepal.

"According to legends, one day a Baid (Physician) of King Harisinha - deva of the Lichavi Dynastyc was preparing to bathe in the water at the junction of Bagmati and Bishnumati. When he was accosted by the King of Snakes (Karkotak) who in the form of a Brahman(Priest) was seeking for a Baid to cure a malady with which his Rani’s (Queen) eyes were affected. The King being satisfied with the physician entreated him to go to his house and see a patient. The Baid, after finishing his ceremonies and bathing, went with the Brahman. They arrived at a pond, at the south-western corner (of the valley of Kathmandu), a thousand bow shots beyond Chaubahal(Chabahil). The pond was so deep, and the water so black, that it was frightful to look at. It was shaded by trees, large fish played in it and it was covered with waterfowl. The King told the Baid to shut his eyes, and in a moment he jumped with him into the water, and they arrived at the Durbar (court) of the Nag-raj ( Snake King) in Patalpuri. The walls of the palace were of gold. The windows of diamond, the ragters and beams of sapphire, the pillars of topaz adorned with rubies. The darkness of the subterranean palace was dispelled by the light emanating from large jewels in the heads of the Nagas. They entered the palace, and saw the Nagini, sitting on a throne studded with jewels of several sorts, shaded with three umbrellas of white diamonds, one above the other and surrounded by beautiful Naginis. King Karkotak assuming his proper form, took the Baid by the hand, and gave him a seat near the throne. He himself mounted the throne, and showed the patient to the Baid. The Baid, having examined her eyes, took out a drug from a bad which he carried at his waist, and having rubbed it on a clean stone, applied it to the eyes which were instantly cured. King Karkotak gave the Baid a handsome present and a dress of honour, and having expressed his gratitude, made him a promises that his descendants would be good curers of eye- diseases. The descendants of the Baid, accordingly, were renowned as a good eye doctors Hari-sinha - deva, having been made acquainted placed to reside in, near Sesha Narayana ( On route to Chobar)." Wright, 1877, 178-179

The Baid wore the vest at all times but one day, while he was working in his farm he got very hot and took off the Bhoto and placed it down. At that moment, a ghost stole the Bhoto which bestowed its wearers great strength reeked havoc to the citizens of Patan. During the final day of the chariot festival of Rato Matayendranath, the ghost was causing trouble which attracted a huge crowd. The Baid heard the commotion and went to see what was happening and was shocked to see it wearing the bhoto. He immediately began to quarrel with the ghost stating that the bhoto was his property and that it was given to him by King Karkotak. As they quarrelled they were suggested to take it up to the King and Lord Karunamaya.

The King gave each a chance to prove that the bhoto was their possession but, both failed to show substancial proof. Thus the King decided that, until the rightful owner of the bhoto comes back with proof that it belongs to them. It would remain under the protection of Lord Karunamaya and it would go where ever he went. And every year the bhoto would be shown to the onlookers after the chariot reaches Jawalakhel, when one could contest for the bhoto.

Till this day, after the chariot of Karunamaya (Rato Matsyendranath) reaches Jawalakhel and on the fourth day. The bhoto which is kept with Karunamaya, is unsealed and shown to the onlookers. Devotees from around the country come to bare witness the Bhoto, which is believed to rid its onlookers of all sin.

After the ceremony the bhoto is resealed with a lal mohar (Red Stamp) and taken to a safe undisclosed location by the Guthi of Karunamaya.


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