Lost Art Of Nepal : Machhindranath Jatra History


Long time ago, When there was no rain in ktm valley for 12 years, king of bhaktapur Narendra Dev went to Shantipur, swoyambhu to meet tantrik Shantikar (past life of Ja mana gubhaju). Shantikar told that this was happening due to the Gorakhnath who was meditating upon naags. He told there will be rain only if those naags were let free from Gorakhnath. To let naags free from him, king need to bring Lokeshor karunamaya (guru of Gorakhnath). King Narendra dev from bhaktapur, tantrik Bandhu Datta (disciple of shantikar) from ktm and Lalit Jyapu Ratna chakra from Patan went to kamaru kashya of assam to bring karunamaya.

When King, tantrik and jyapu reached kamaru kashya where karunamaya has taken birth from demon queen. It was easily known that they won't be agree to give their youngest child karunamaya. So tantrik played trick. He made Karkotak naag to go inside the stomach of demon king, the father of karunamaya. Demon felt so sicked and no one was able to cure him. So tantrik bandhu datta went to him and cured. Demon asked tantrik what he want? Tantrik asked him to give his youngest son. Demon became so angry and denied his request. 

In fear that the tantrik might use his powers to take Karunamaya outside the demons’ house as the tantrik successfully does anyways, Karunamaya’s mother spreads her long hair before Karunamaya as he slept. But the tantrik’s powers were very strong and managed to help Karunamaya sort through his mother’s hair and escape. But in the process, Karunamaya accidentally walked over a single strand of his mother’s hair, which is considered a great sin in Hindu culture. This is said to be the reason why one hand of Karunamaya’s idol is seen to be broken in place as a curse for walking over his mother’s hair. It is also the reason why the idol is red in color, red signifying Karunamaya’s blood as a result of the wrath of the demons. But the demons were very powerful and managed to take Karunamaya with them again. 

 Also Read :Lost Art Of Nepal :Birupaksha बिरुपाक्ष अर्थात पशुपतिनाथमा रहेको कलियुगको मुर्ति


Tantrik thought next idea. He took out the jeev (aatma) of karunamaya and kept aatma on bee. and kept bee in the kalash. When demon knew this, they immediately brought kalash back. Again tantrik tried next way. He called the 4 bhairavs and told everything. Bhairavs went to demon and brought karunamaya. 4 bhairavs carried karunamaya till they reached Bungamati. Today, the four wheels of Bhairav represent the four Bhairavs in the story and the two snake ridges represent the Karkotak Maharaj who had helped the three sowers to bring Karunamaya to Kathmandu. The 32 "haat" (hand) long Chariot symbolizes the 32 attributes of the compassionate Karunamaya.

Now there was great confusion on where to take karunamaya among 3 cities. King narendra dev told to take Karunamaya to bhaktapur as he arranged everything to bring Karunamaya, hence it belongs to bhaktapur. Tantrik told that Karunamaya should be kept in kathmandu as without him and his tantrik power the task was impossible. Lalit jyapu told to keep it in patan as he carried the Karunamaya throught out the journey from Assam to Nepal, hence it belongs to Patan. With this confusion and lack of skill in taking proper decision, they went to king of patan Siddhi Narsingh Malla to solve this problem. King of patan thought  to keep karunamaya in patan. So being clever, he suggested them to take the advice & decision from the eldest person of the patan and whatever he decides, Karunamaya will be kept in that city . King of patan had already called and met the eldest man before without the knowing of Bhaktapur king and tantrik  and offered him the curd mixed with salt. when he ate that curd, now he has to obey the king because he has eaten the salt of king (नुन को सोझो ). King ordered him to tell that karunamaya belongs to patan and karunamaya will be kept in patan. So, as per the king's order, that eldest man said that Karunamaya belongs to Patan, hence it should be kept in Patan. Due to this unfair decision, that eldest man got buried down under the land he stood immediately. That place where that eldest man got buried is in Etee tole in Patan (near Kumaripati ) and it is still same until today, with a marking as a hole in the place which we can still see in there.

A myth that goes around with the story is that the chariot when being pulled down from Bungmati upon reaching Jawalakhel should hush down any noises or beating of drums because it is still believed that Karunamaya’s mother live among the trees and if she happens to wake up she will try to take her son back home.

this festival is held just before the monsoon season starts and being the compassionate god of rain and harvest, it usually rains during the first few days of the festival, like Machhindranath himself giving the blessing to the people of the valley. The chariot tour starts from the place it’s built i.e. Pulchowk, circling the city via Natole, Gabahal, Mangal Bazaar, Sundhara, Lagankhel, Kumaripati and finally ending at Jawalakhel.

(Note: The story was compiled and prepared with the help from various sources, facts and beliefs. 🙂 )


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