Bungamati is the birthplace of Rato Machhendranath, the patron god of Patan, and for six months of the year the deity resides in the main village square (he spends the rest of his time at the Rato Machhendranath Temple in Patan). The process of moving him backwards and forwards between Patan and Bungamati is central to one of the most important festivals in the Kathmandu Valley. The enormous shikhara where the deity once resided collapsed during the 2015 earthquake.
When we last visited, the temple was being rebuilt from the foundations up with the deity overlooking proceedings from a temporary shelter. The chowk around the temple remains the beating heart of this Newari town. During harvesting season (October to November) you’ll see villagers winnowing rice here.