Grand Prize Winner – 2006 Kendal Mountain Film Festival
Special Jury Award, 2007 Slovenia Mountain Film Festival
Special Mention, 2006 Bilan du Film Etnographique, Paris
Adjudged documentary of the decade by Nepal Motion Pictures
The Rato Machhendranath is the God who has power over rain and is also known asKarunamaya, the God of mercy. The Buddhists identify him with Lokeshwar. The festival is celebrated by constructing a chariot (rath in Nepali) with a long steeple made of wood. This chariot is then moved about from place to place often taking more than a month to reach its final destination before it is returned to its resting place.
On the Road with the Red God: Machhendranath is a multiple award-winning film directed by Kesang Tseten. Every 12 years, impassioned devotees pull a 65-feet tall unwieldy chariot, its rider an enigmatic god, on a month-long journey through the Kathmandu Valley. The enterprise calls for extreme cooperation and rigorous observance of ritual in the building, sanctification and pulling of the chariot. But the jatra (festival) is an arena of gritty reality, where participants vie for everything from a share of ritual meat to status and proximity to the god. The chariot teeters, as does the community, between chaos and order, conflict or solidarity. Thus, every 12 years, the same question: will the journey succeed?