The chariot procession known as Rato (Red) Machhendranath is the biggest event in Patan, Nepal. The festival honors Machhendranath, the god of rain and plenty, who is worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists in different incarnations, and has shrines at both Patan and in the village of Bungamati, a few miles south of Patan. The festival, held when the monsoon season is approaching, is a plea for plentiful rain.
The image of the god, a carved piece of red-painted wood, is taken from the shrine in the Pulchowk area at the start of the festivities and paraded around the city in several stages on a wheeled chariot. The chariot is a huge wooden wagon that is towed by hundreds of devotees. Finally, after a month of being hauled about, the chariot is dismantled, and the image is conveyed to Bungamati to spend six months at the temple there.