Top 5 Pilgrimage Sites In Nepal

Mesmerize your travel experience with these sites

30, Jan 2022 |

Mesmerize your travel experience with these sites

Being at the nexus of so many different cultures, religions and traditions, it is no wonder that Nepal is defined as a melting pot, where different cultures and traditions all come together to form a harmonious synergy. A large part of this cultural diversity has been the innumerable number of stupas, statues, temples, monasteries and other religious monuments that Nepal is inundated with. Here are some of the monuments to get lost and mesmerized in: 


1. Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple 

Located 3842m above sea level in Dolakha district, amidst the beautiful scenery and the stunning view of notable mountains like Dorje Lhakpa, Gurkarpo Ri, Longpogan, Bhairav Takura, also lies the very religious and significant Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple. You can take the cable car to the top or do an hour of hiking to take the picturesque route to reach the temple. It is a very sacred and consecrated place for the Hindus, who come in droves for their historical and religious significance. According to legend, the top of Kalinchowk was supposedly the place of meditation of Goddess Kali, the god associated with power and destruction. After an evil power tried to win over Kali, she waged war over the evil forces. During the war, Lord Shiva, using the divine trident (Trishul) and the holy water that came from the dry land, gave Goddess Kali power. Therefore, the water pond at the top of Kalinchowk is considered to be holy and pure and purifies anyone who showers or drinks the water from the pond. All in all, with a picturesque landscape and significant lore and myths surrounding the place, Kalinchowk Bhagwati is an experience you shouldn't miss out on while visiting Nepal. 


2. Pathibhara Devi Temple 

With thousands of Hindus from Nepal and India flocking to this destination is one of the most significant and well-known pilgrimage sites, Pathibhara Devi Temple. With the site being set in Phungling municipality, at the hills of Taplejung district, Pathibhara is also situated at the side trekking route to Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek. The goddess Pathibhara after which the pilgrimage is named is believed to be a fierce goddess who can easily with simple and selfless acts of compassion while is unmerciful to anyone who has malicious intent. She answers  It is also known as one of the 'Shakti Peeths', places where parts of Goddess Sati had fallen while Lord Shiva was carrying his dead body. Hindu and Limbu worshippers from different parts of Nepal and India come to the holy consecration during special occasions. Pilgrims can also visit monasteries in Olangchung Gola and Lungchung near Pathibhara. There is also an old tell-tale about local shepherds who lost hundreds of sheep while grazing at the place where the temple stands today. The shepherds had a dream where the goddess had ordered them to carry out ritualistic sacrifice of sheep and build a shrine in her honour. When the sacrifice was done, the lost herd suddenly returned. This was believed to start the practice of offering sacrifices in the temple. 


3. Halesi Mahadev Temple

The Halesi Mahadev Temple is a venerated pilgrimage site for Hindus, Buddhists and Kirat, located in the village of Mahadevsthan in the Khotang District of eastern Nepal. About 3,100 - 4,734 ft above sea level, the temple and the cave hold much importance for followers of the above-mentioned religions. For Buddhists, the cave and the temple are referenced as far back as the 12th century in Kathang Zanglingma, a biography of Padmasambhava. In the work, Mandarava and Padmasambhava realized that there were many longevity teachings encoded in the cave by Dakini Sangwa Yeshi and by utilizing those teachings they attained the Vidyadhara (long life). For Hindus, the place is believed to be where Lord Shiva hid from the demon Bhasmasur for 6,000 years in the cave. Hindu worshippers come to the cave in the month of Shravan and the holidays of Bhasmasur, Rama Navami and Ganesh Chaturthi to pray to Haleshi Mahadev. For Kiratis, they worship Halesi as an ancestral deity as Raechhakue (also known as Hetchhauppa), their ancestor used to live in the cave. This cave is 67 feet below the surface. Its entrance is shaped like a half-moon and faces towards the east. It has a round shape, with a diameter of 193 feet, with another, separate, cave lying beneath. The floor is 223 feet in circumference. The location of this cave lies between the holy rivers Dudh Koshi and Sun Kosi. The cave is usually cold and rainy. Nowadays it is accessible by motorcycles and jeeps.


4. Tengboche Monastery 

Tengboche Monastery, also known as Dawa Choling Gompa, in the Tengboche village in Khumjung in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Sherpa community. Situated at 12,687 ft, the monastery is the largest gompa in the Khumbu region of Nepal. Built-in 1916 by Lama Gulu with strong links to its mother monastery known as the Rongbuk Monastery, it has been a place of extreme Buddhist status with the Tibetan sect of Buddhism flourishing in the pilgrimage. It is also the terminus site of the "Sacred Sites Trail Project" of the Sagarmatha National Park that attracts a large number of tourists for trekking and mountaineering. It is a circular trail that covers 10 monasteries in a clockwise direction ending in the Tengboche Monastery. With the monastery being under the Sagarmatha National Park under the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a sight to behold with mesmerizing picturesque.


5. Muktinath 

Muktinath is a shiva temple, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. It is located in Muktinath Valley at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass in Mustang, Nepal. It is one of the world's highest temples (altitude 3,800 m). Within Hinduism, it is known as Mukti Kshetra, which means the 'place of liberation' (moksha) and is one of the Char Dham in Nepal. With such prestige, Muktinath is one of the most revered places for Hindus, Buddhists, Bon and Jainism. For Hindus, it was the humble abode of Shiva and Parvati which Ramayana tried to uproot in retaliation of Lord Shiva not coming to Lanka with him. In Buddhist mythology, it is known as Mount Meru which was central to its cosmology. Buddhists believe that Mount Kailash was the home of Buddha Demchok which represented supreme bliss. These were sites related to Padmasambhava, which practices in holy sites around Tibet, which has been credited as the practices that spread Buddhism around Tibet during the 7th-8th century. The path is around 52 km. Many pilgrims and trekkers circumambulate Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists, while Jains and Bönpos circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction.

Text by: Samyak Dhar Tuladhar 

Photo Credit: ([1]:[Rupendra Neupane/Wikipedia Commons], [2]:[Salman Gurung/Wikipedia Commons], [3]:[Christopher J. Fynn/Wikipedia Commons], [4]:[Vitbaisa/Wikipedia Commons], [5]:[Jan Reurink/Wikipedia Commons]

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