Page:Picturesque Nepal.djvu/179

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107
THE CAR OF MATSYENDRA NATH

idol to thousands of his followers is one of the most fascinating events of the Valley, and a function which has been maintained for centuries. The ceremony is in three parts: first, the bathing of the image of the god at a particular shrine; second, the dragging of the image in a triumphal car through the principal streets of Patau; and third, the unrobing of the idol and the display of its garments to the people. The second portion of this programme is particularly striking, and is a festival eminently characteristic of the State. The car is a huge, unwieldy structure, with massive wheels, on the solid spokes of which are painted in distinctive colours the eyes of Bhairab or Shiva. Surmounting this is the chamber containing the deity, built up in the form of a column, somewhat resembling a Maypole, and between 60 and 70 feet high. This construction is only dragged for a distance of about a mile and a half, but this short journey ordinarily occupies at least four days, as certain prescribed halts are made, and neither is the car itself nor are the roads adapted for easy progression. The scene is a