Bungamati is another ancient Newari village that lies just a few kilometers from the busy city (Kathmandu) centre. Dating back to the 16th century this village is an important religious site. Legend has it that the Rain God ‘Machhendranath’ was brought to the valley in the form of a bee during one of the worst droughts that the valley was experiencing. The Rain God took up residence at the village and revealed his true form, that of Rato(Red) Machhendranath thereby blessing the drought hit valley with abundant rainfall. From then on every year in the month of April/ May his idol is carried in a chariot from Bungamati to different places in Patan . The chariot festival known as Rato Macchendranath Jatra is celebrated annually with much fanfare. There is a magnificent temple at the village square where Rato Machhendranath’s idol is kept. Apart from the Rain God, Bungamati is also famous for its wood carving. Generations of wood carvers from this village have produced exquisite wood work that has adorned thousands of homes, temples, museums etc. Lying just a few kilometers from Kathmandu city, the village has a rustic ambience and is a sure delight for those on the lookout of Newari culture and rural lifestyle.
Rato Machhendranath Temple
(Pictures: Explore Himalaya)
One of the oldest and longest chariot pulling festivals celebrated in the Kathmandu valley, the Rato Machhendranath Jatra(chariot pulling festival of the Rain God) began from yesterday, May 7, 2011. Rato Machhendranath is regarded as the rain god by the valley’s denizens. His chariot is pulled by devotees through the major localities of Lalitpur for about two months. The Bhoto Jatra at Jwalakhel square marks the end of the rain god’s journey.