Kathmandu: The ancient idols and jewellery of a Hindu god that had gone missing after the massive earthquake on April 25 in Nepal have been recovered from under the debris of the temple near here, but the fate of a popular chariot festival linked to the centuries-old temple remains uncertain.
The jewellery and the idols were retrieved by local people with the help of security personnel at the historical city of Bungmati, where the temple of Rato Machhendranath—known as the god of harvest and rain—is located.
The 7.9 magnitude quake on April 25 had destroyed the structure of the temple and with it the idols and the jewellery were buried under the debris.
The most important event connected with the temple is the annual chariot procession known as Rato Machhendranath Rath Yatra or Bunga Dyo Jatra in ethnic Newari language.
One of the oldest festivals, it was held in Lalitpur and celebrated in April-May just ahead of the monsoon for good harvest and plenty of rainfall.
The four wheels of the Rato Machhendranath chariot are changed once in every 12 years and this year was special for this reason.
However, the temblor has halted the procession that began on April 22.
Local people are uncertain as to how to celebrate the chariot festival in coming years with the devastation of the cultural heritage.
As per tradition, the chariot should not be pulled at the time of earthquake, said Trailokya Man Shakya, a local resident, also a geologist by profession.
“At least we have to wait for four days to pull the chariot if there is an earthquake,” he said. “Now there is tremor every day, how can the chariot be pulled?”
The festival has been an attraction for a large number of domestic and foreign tourists.