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    The legend of The Bhoto Jatra

    Balaram Thapa
    Balaram ThapaUpdated: May 25th 2023  |  Festival of Nepal

    Bhoto Jatra is a unique cultural festival that is celebrated in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. In Nepal, the festival is celebrated every year and is dedicated to the deity Rato Machindranath also known as God of Rain. It is a long festival and is a part of the larger Rato Machindranath Jatra, and Bhoto Jatra is the concluding festival marking the end of the main festival.

    The festival servers as a cultural and religious celebration, symbolizing prosperity and unity among people. It is a captivating festival that showcases the unique blend of mythology, tradition and spirituality in the Kathmandu Valley.

    When is Bhoto Jatra celebrated?

    Bhoto Jatra is celebrated on 25th May 2023 in Lalitpur.

    Why is Bhoto Jatra celebrated?

    There is a beautiful story behind why the legendary festival is celebrated. According to the story, the farmer, renowned for wearing the bhoto, obtained it as a reward for curing Karkotaka's wife of an eye ailment. Karkotaka was the snake king who lived under the lake of Taudaha in Kathmandu. The vest was decorated with diamonds and so he wore it with pride every day.

    One day, while the farmer was on his way, a Lakhey (fire-burning demon) noticed the vest and began following him. Seizing an opportunity, the ghost stole the vest when the farmer set it aside while working in the fields. Despite the farmer's efforts, the ghost eluded capture due to its swiftness.

    During the ongoing Rato Machhindranath festival, the farmer speculated that the ghost might appear there wearing the stolen vest. When the ghost indeed appeared wearing the vest, a quarrel erupted between the farmer and the ghost. They were separated and brought before King Guna Kamadev for a fair judgment.

    Both the farmer and the ghost presented their sides of the story to the king, who sought tangible proof to reach a just decision. However, neither of them could provide the required evidence. Consequently, the vest was entrusted to the deity, and its existence became a matter of mystery.

    In subsequent years, on the final day of the Rato Machhindranath festival, the bhoto is publicly displayed by the head of Guthi Sansthan of the Patan division. If anyone can provide proof of ownership, they are granted the opportunity to claim the vest.

    Despite attempts, no one has been successful in producing the necessary evidence. Nevertheless, the tradition of showcasing the bhoto to the public on the concluding day of the festival continues, intriguing attendees and perpetuating the legend surrounding the sacred vest. 

    How is Bhoto Jatra celebrated?

    During Bhoto Jatra, the sacred bhoto is displayed to the public atop a tall wooden pole called the Yosin Dhunga, located at Jawalakhel in Lalitpur. The event draws a large crowd of devotees and onlookers who gather to witness this auspicious spectacle.

    The festival reaches its climax when the bhoto is shown to the people, and they eagerly wait for a glimpse of it. The ceremonial revealing of the bhoto is a significant moment, accompanied by prayers, hymns, and traditional rituals.

    The highlight of Bhoto Jatra occurs when the bhoto is displayed to the public from the pole. People believe that those who catch sight of the bhoto will be blessed with good fortune.

    So, this is all about the Bhoto Jatra celebrated in the Patan division of Nepal by the Newar Community. Bhoto Jatra serves as a testament to the deep-rooted traditions, legends, and cultural tapestry of the Kathmandu Valley, keeping alive the folklore and engaging the community in a shared sense of pride and reverence.

    As Bhoto Jatra continues to be celebrated year after year, it not only preserves the legacy of the farmer, the ghost, and the sacred vest but also serves as a reminder of the enduring power of folklore and the importance of cultural celebrations in nurturing a sense of identity and unity among the people.

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