Matya Jatra also known as the Festival of Light is a typical Newari festival of the Newar community of Lalitpur during the month of Shrawan (August) after Kwati Punhi and Gai Jatra. During the festival, thousands of devotees walk peacefully around the 1,300 Buddhist shrines of Patan, with prayers and offerings of flowers, incense, sweets, lamps and special guru “patra” or gift cups for guru. It is a Unique festival of world celebrated in Nepal.
Offering of lamps to the Buddha on this day is believed to help in overcoming of “Maras” or temptations, thus leading to enlightenment. Here, you can see the shrine walkers at Bungamati, a little Newar village on the outskirts of the south side of Kathmandu Valley.
“One of the prettiest villages of Kathmandu Valley,” is what Lonely Planet says about Bungamati, and we couldn’t agree more. It is believed to be the birthplace of the Rato Machhindranath, the patron god of Patan, and the festival of the chariot god takes place from Bungamati to Patan during the month of Baisakh (late April) every year.
Bungamati was called Bugayumi during the Lichhavi period, and Bungapattan during the Malla period. Archaeological remains dating about 605 AD with mention of palaces and lifestyle of the villagers, establish the ancient history of Bungamati. Life in Bungamati is centered around the Temple of Machhindranath also called “Bungadeo” by the villagers.
Photo courtesy: Mr. Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi, Photographer