This festival, which begins on the first full moon of Baisakh (April/May) every year, may be the longest and most important festival of Patan, however, with several important events (all of a calamitous nature) having been recorded at one time or another during this month-long event, it has become a festival that people keep a sharp eye on as it begins its procession through the ‘City of the Arts’.
The Rato Machhendranath festival begins with the construction of a giant wooden chariot at Pulchowk. In fact, it’s done right by the side on the main road and if you’re interested, you can go watch how it’s made. It could be a learning experience and bring to mind construction of the ‘Trojan Horse’ in Troy. The size, especially, is pretty impressive, with wheels that are really large, to say the least, and a spire that rises up to 10 meters. The huge wheels, the strong base, the four pillars, the large platform, and the tall tower are made of the sturdiest of woods; the only place where metal is used is on the axels.
The mammoth structure will finally stand at around 14.56 m, its various parts tied strongly with durable bamboo ropes. It is clear that building such an edifice requires a high degree of expertise and long years of experience; this is ensured by the fact that only those of the Barahi clan, a clan that has been doing so for ages, are given the responsibility. Similarly, another clan, the equally expert Yawals, do the rope work, which, again they have been doing right from the very beginning.
Now, coming to the said ‘calamitous events’ befalling the country during the festival: Some 333 years ago, in 1680, observers noticed that the Machhendranath idol had lost some paint off its face. That very same night, the then ruler of Patan, King Nipendra Malla, who, for all purposes, had been fit and fine, breathed his last. In the later years, another of the valley kings, King Viswajit Malla, related to a confidant about how he had imagined that Machhendranath had turned his back on him. He was worried about what it might foretell. He was right to be worried—he was murdered on the same night.
Yet another king, known for his high-spiritedness, is said to have once participated in pulling the chariot through the streets. Unfortunately, during this particular procession, the chariot’s axel broke 31 times. Well, it was certainly a bad omen, the worst in fact, because the king died soon after. Some 196 years ago, in 1817, observers noticed the same thing that happened in 1680: the idol seemed to have lost paint off its face once again, a rare occurrence. That was the day a great earthquake struck the valley, destroying many houses and killing many people. Most recently, in the new millennium, that is, in 2000, the 10 meter spire fell into the crowd. This was not expected, after all, great care had been taken to tie up the various parts with the sturdiest of materials. Well, whatever the reason, it was another bad omen, and the people of the valley wondered what would happen next. Well, what followed grabbed headlines all over the globe—“Royal Massacre in Nepal.”
Trekking |Jun 13, 2023
West of the popular Rolwaling and Khumbu trekking regions, and east of Kathmandu, is where begins one of the newer trekking areas of Nepal. The trek begins at Barahabise and ends at Charikot of Dolakaha district on the southern slope of the Gauri Shanker Himal (7,134 m).
Others |Jun 18, 2023
Thousands of people congregate around a pond in Handigaun in the month of Chaitra/Baisakh (mid March/mid April). The occasion is the famous ‘Gahana Khojne’ (Search for Ornaments) festival, an annual event that is known for the robust nature of its festivities.
Others |Jun 18, 2023
While shamanism exists in different variations worldwide, it shares some common beliefs. These are: spirits exist (can be good or evil); they can communicate with the spirits and they can cure sickness caused by them; they can induce trance-like states to incite visionary ecstasy; and they can tell the future.
Tours |Jun 22, 2023
An important and fascinating World Heritage Site, made up of three large squares filled with shrines, temples and activity; Bhaktapur is the essential Newari city with some of the finest architecture in Nepal. In its heyday (14th-16th centuries) Bhaktapur
Trekking |Jun 19, 2023
It is the most remote and least developed region of Nepal, which probably makes it one of the worst places to live on planet earth. But, puzzling as it may seem, the people who inhabit this region are, on the whole, full of humanity.
Impact Tourism |May 26, 2022
The popularity and success of destinations historically have primarily been assessed via the economic prosperity that it delivers. In other words, more often than not, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is viewed as the tried and tested metric
Tours |May 17, 2023
These pioneering works led to the restoration of other heritage monuments. Well, royalty may be no more in the country, but we have to thank a grandiloquent royal celebration for beginning the process of restoration of Nepal’s marvellous monuments.
Spiritual |Jun 12, 2023
The story goes like this: Shiva falls in love with, and marries, Dakshayani, daughter of Dakshya Prajapati, a descendant of Lord Brahma, an unlikely villain of the story who isn’t pleased that his beautiful daughter is married to the rough-looking, high-living Shiva.
Sustainability |Sep 16, 2019
At Royal Mountain Travel, we don’t just practice sustainable tourism, but sustainable living. As one of our core values, sustainability is woven through every element of our business and we’re proud of the work we’ve done to put our environment and our people first.
Nepal |Oct 21, 2019
Sometimes there isn’t a clear answer to the most commonly asked questions, like “When is the best time to go?”
Trekking |Jun 15, 2023
Located on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River, Jomsom is the district headquarters of Mustang district. It is also known as Dzongsam (New Fort) and has Dhaulagiri (8,167 m) and Nilgiri (7.061 m) peaks as its backdrop.