It’s the monsoon season here in Nepal. Blazing hot afternoons broken up by the insistent patter of rain. Time to bring out the brollies and ponchos. And for Hindus and Buddhists, a time to go chariot chasing.

Held in honour of Rato Machindranath, the deity said to have saved Nepal from prolonged drought in ancient times, the Chariot Festival is a noisy, boisterous, colourful affair.

We walked smack into the festivities yesterday. A devout crowd, surging towards the chariots, or what looked to us like two ornately decorated giant fir trees on wheels. Reaching out, reaching out, for plumes of holy smoke, for rice that seemed to fall out of the sky, for the promise of good harvest and rain.