Before we start the story, you must know the meaning of this festival. And you might want to know the meaning of “Bhoto” and “Jatra”. Isn’t it?
Well, Bhoto Jatra is the festival of a vest, which is displayed once in a year. After hearing this you may think: Nepalese are crazy for celebrating the festival of a vest. What so important about the vest? But let me tell you, there is not such a festival in Nepal which does not explain its existence. That’s why there might be some story behind this festival.
According to the tradition, ‘Bhoto Jatra’ marks the end of the month-long celebration of Rato Machhindranath Jatra, Jatra of the Gods of rain and harvest. Rato Machhindrath Jatra is a revered festival in the valley. Every year, the huge Chariot of Rato Machhendranath is pulled around the valley. Huge?? Yes, it is huge with 32 hands long chariot linked with four ends built from bamboo poles, completed after days of hard work in Pulchowk from where the journey of the chariot starts.
No doubt there are various myths regarding Bhoto Jatra, but this one is the most popular myths. Once the wife of Karakat Nagraj had an eye disease that could not be cured even with lots of medicines. One day, a farmer (Jyapu) said that he could heal her eye problem and Nagraj let him try. Then he rubbed his body with his hands collected the dirt and put it in the eyes of Nagraj’s wife. His wife instantly cured, which made the joyful environment. On a special occasion, Nagraj rewarded him an invaluable Bhoto out of generosity as a gift. The Bhoto was mottled in diamond and was very precious, so the farmer used to wear it every day.
One day, the Jyapu went to transplant paddy in his field. He opened his Bhoto and kept in nearby there somewhere while working. In the meantime, a Giant(Lakhe) arrived there and stole his invaluable Bhoto. Jyapu chased that lakhe, but lakhe was very fast, so he escaped. He searched that Lakhe everywhere and became very much sad and enraged.
On the occasion of Rato Machhendranath Jatra, Jyapu saw the lakhe wearing the Bhoto. Jyapu asked Lakhe to give him back, but Lakhe refused to return. Then there was a broke out terrible fighting between them. No one could win the fight. Finally, the case was filed at the King’s court for the final settlement. The king was not satisfied with both side’s evidence, and it was decided that the Bhoto would be left with the Lord Machhendranath for the safekeeping until the rightful owner comes with a proof to claim it.
From that time every year the Bhoto is shown to the general public assuring them that it has been kept safely ever since. People assumed that Lichhivi king Gunakam Dev had begun the practice of this festival.
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