The rain god Machindranath’s chariot procession that was stopped following a clash between locals and police on Thursday resumed on Sunday, but with restriciton on gatherings of people and enforcement of separataion of pullers and devotees.
The local administration, Guthi Sansthan trust and local groups involved in the festival decided over the weekend to re-commence the centuries old jatra with safety measures. On Friday, Chyama Puja rituals were conducted amidst a curfew imposed to ensure that there was no more violence.
The chariot pullers were wearing face shields, gloves and masks, maintaining distance on the ropes and devotees were not allowed to gather to watch. The festival, which was suppsoed to take place in May had to be postponed repeatedly because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The procession site starting from Pulchok where the chariot had stopped on Thursday was heavily patrolled by Armed Police Force in riot gear. A total of 438 people had gathered for the procession: 160 of them to pull the chariot, 124 volunteers, 28 musicians and 122 officials from the Jyapu Samaj.
However, unlike previous years, as per the undertanding, the chariot took a shortcut to the office of Lalitpur Metropolitan City bypassing its usual stops at Gabahal, Mangalbazar, Sundhara and Lagankhel on its way to Jawalakhel.