Chariot Festival Begins in Kathmandu

Seto Machhindranath is revered as the ‘Lord of Compassion’

The chariot procession of the Seto (white) Machhindranath deity started on Thursday, April 6 amid tension in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. The day marked the start of a four day general strike called by the seven political party alliance.

Seto Machhindranath is considered to be the “Lord of Compassion.” On the first day of the festival, a statue of the god was placed in a special chariot.

Built with cane and timber, the main body of the chariot is very large, approximately 60 feet tall and its huge wooden wheels measure up to 6 feet in diameter. The chariot is traditionally pulled around the main streets of Kathmandu for four days.

On the first day, the chariot pulled away from Tindhara, in front of Narayanhity Royal Palace, to Ason. Thousands of devotees took part even though the government had issued a prohibitory order against public gatherings. Devotees were afraid of curfews that might be enforced amid the tension in other parts of the city.

Seto Machhindranath is a week-long festival, when the god Machindranath is bathed, and decorated. There are rituals of music and offerings from devotees who hope to receive blessings of rainfall for the coming planting season. The living goddess Kumari also pays a visit during the festival.

Thousands devotees took part in the chariot procession of the Seto (white) Machhindranath deity, April 6 in Kathmandu.

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