As Nepal continues to register more number of coronavirus cases, cultural and religious events like Rato Machindranath Jatra is being celebrated with almost no extravaganza.
Rato Machindranath Jatra is the longest chariot festival of the Himalayan Nation. According to the lunar calendar, the longest chariot festival of Nepal begins on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of Bachhala, the seventh month in the lunar Nepal Sambat calendar but this year it didn't fall as per the set-out rule.
However, due to the strict measures amid COVID-19, the festival was fast-tracked. The lack of pomp and show has not only left the followers disheartened but a clash between locals and police on Thursday over pulling of Rato Machindranath chariot left dozens injured and several arrested.
A day later 'Kshama Puja' was performed, after which people from 19 various ethnic groups agreed to fast track the chariot procession.
As per the agreement made on Friday, chariot of Rato Macchindranath was pulled up to Sorhakhutte Falcha, in front of Lalitpur Metropolitan Office. The 'Red God' will be toured around the city and then taken back to Bungamati by September 11.
"Many people claimed that Lord Machindranath has faced a lot of pain as it was left under a scorching sun. These claims compelled people to believe that unpleasant situations will arise if Lord Machindranath gets angry," Mana Maya Mulmi, one of the member of Jatra orgsing committee told .
Mana Maya Mulmi further said, "Today, the chariot was pulled without any problems and I am very happy. It went peacefully, the police also coordinated well. The CDO office and every concerning party orgsing this ceremony have played their role efficiently and responsibly."
Amid the COVID-19, Bhaktapur has called off its Bisket Jatra while Kathmandu has called off its Indra Jatra. Similarly, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur jointly called off the Gai Jatra.
A large number of security personnel have been deployed in Pulchowk to prevent any large gathering of people amid the pandemic. Only some designated local people and volunteers were allowed to be in the area on Sunday.
Chariot procession of Rato Machindranath also called as "Bunga Dugh" in Newari meng the God of Rain and Harvest is the longest Jatra in Nepal, which runs on for months depending widely on astronomy.
It should have started on April, as earlier years but world health pandemic of Coronavirus pushed back the dates twice -- once in April and again in June.
Dates were differed twice in April due to lockdown imposed by the government. With the end of lockdown in July, the construction of chariot was expedited by "Guthi" or social orgsation assigned to hold on traditional processions and festivals.
The ascension of Lord Machindranath was performed on July 25.
( With inputs from ANI )
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