Thursday, March 1, 2007

Machindranath (Red & White): Pics by Ajay Joshi

An old man at the top of the 'Raath' of Rato (Red) Machindranath ready to throw the NUT. It is believed that the person who receive the nut is consider lucky and he/she would have son.

The Red Machhendranath temple was built in 1408 AD and is situated in Tabahal. For six months the deity is taken to its other shrine in Bungamati. The Rato (Red) Machhendranath temple, the god of rain and abundance comes in a variety of incarnations. To Buddhists, he is the Tantric side of Avalokiteshvara while to Hindus he is another face of Shiva. The temple has four elaborately carved doorways that are each guarded by lion figures and at ground level on the four corners of the temple plinth are reliefs of monkeys. The metal roof is supported by struts, each showing Avalokiteshvara standing above figures being tortured in hell. Prayer wheels are set into the base of the temple. The Machhendranath image is just a crudely carved piece of red-painted wood, but each year during the month-long Rato Machhendranath celebrations it is paraded around the town on a large temple chariot. The complex celebration moves the image from place to place over a period of several weeks in the month of Baishakh (April/May), finally ending at Jawalakhel where the chariot is dismantled. Once every twelve years, the chariot is pulled all the way from the ancient city of Bungamati and is continued through the narrow lanes on Patan to be once again pulled to Bungamati where the procession finally ends.

The portrait of Seto (White) Machindranath

Seto (White) Machindranath 'Raath' been pulled by the local residence at Indrachowk

Kel Tole, where there is the well-decorated Seto (White) Machhendranath Temple. It is one of the more important temples in Kathmandu and both HindusHindus and Buddhist worship at this temple. In the temple there is a seating image of a white-faced of Seto Machhendranath. Buddhist worship Seto Machhendranath as a form of Avalokiteshvara and the Hindu worship him as a form of Siva, who brings rain.

It has an arched doorway with an image of Buddha on a high stone pillar faced by two lions. In front of the temple are bronze images of Taras on top of high pillars. It is not known exactly when the temple was built, but it was renovated in the 17th century. In the courtyard there are many shrines and statues of deities.

The deity of Seto Machhendranath is placed on a chariot and paraded around the city during the Seto Machhendranath festival in March/April. The parade ends of Machhendranath Temple in the south section of the city.

In the middle of Kel Tole is the Tantric tripled-roof Lunchun Lun Bum Ajima Temple. It has some erotic carvings on the bath struts.

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