I wanted to do b/w photo shoot of an event/festival for a long time and finally had a chance to capture the festival of White Machindranath few months back.
Seto Machindranath,also known as White Machindranath, Aryavalokitesvara, Karunamaya and Jamaleswor is a deity worshiped by the Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal. The temple of Seto Machindranath is located in Jana Bahal(also known as Machhindra Bahal).A place located between Ason and Indra chowk,Kathmandu and is believed to have been established around the 10th century. Seto Machindranath is worshipped by the Hindus as the god of rain and the Buddhists worship the deity as an aspect of Avalokiteshvara.
It is believed that during the rule of King Yakshya Malla, in a place called Kantipuri (Today's Kathmandu), people used to bathe in the holy river and visit Swayambhunath this led them to heaven after death. Once Yamraj(god of death) came to know the power of Swayambhunath and he visited the holy temple. During his return from the temple he was captured by King Yakshya Malla and his Tantric guru and demanded immortality and would not let Yamraj leave. So Yamraj prayed to Arya Awalokiteshwor(Seto Machindranath) to free him. The god heard his prayer and instantly appeared from the water. The god was white in color with eyes half closed. He then told the king to build a temple where Kalmati and Bagmati meet and to organize chariot procession so that the god could visit the people and bless them with happiness and long life.
The chariot procession festival of Seto Machindranath is celebrated during the month of Chaitra(March/April). This is a three days long festival. The chariot of Seto Machindranath is pulled from place to place during these three days. Each day when the chariot has reached its destination a group of soldiers fire their rifles into the air.
On the first day the deity is brought to Jamal by the priests. Then it is pulled to Asan, Kathmandu via Ratna Park and Bhotahity. The next day it is pulled from Asan Kathmandu to Hanumandokha. Finally it is pulled to Lagantole via Maruhity and Jaisideval. During all three days people come and pay their respect to the god.
In the month of Poush(Dec/Jan) every year the deity is bathed and repainted. In this event the deity is brought into the courtyard of the temple. All of the ornaments and clothes of the deity are taken off. Then the deity is bathed with several containers of water both cold and hot,milk, ghee and honey. All of the actions are carried out by the priests of the temple. Main highlight of this event is that the living goddess Kumari attends this ritual.
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