Rato Machhendranath Jatra

This is the longest as well as the most important festival of Patan. It begins with several days of ceremonies and the formation of a wooden-wheeled chariot at Pulchowk, near the Ashoka Stupa in the month of Baisakh (March-April). The chariot bears the shrine of the Rato Macchendranath and carries a very tall spire made from bamboo poles raised from four ends of the chariot. This unwieldy spire is around 10 meters tall and on account of this, the chariot balances precariously. It is said that calamity is certain to strike the land in the event of the chariot overturning or breaking down. The chariot is taken through all the ancient Newari settlements in Patan. Interestingly, only the women pull the chariot in one particular day. The festival concludes after officials show a colorful Bhoto 'sacred vest' from the chariot in Jawalakhel.