Pathibhara Devi shrine is a famous pilgrimage site which is believed to fulfill the wishes of her devotees who visit her with great belief.
The eastern land of pristine hills, mountain streams, dense natural forest, and holy sites is Illam, famous for its tea gardens and the heritage it has, surrounding its unique culture. The province No. 1 district Illam, on the hilly belt of Nepal, is also known as the Kingdom of Tea Production. Apart from the natural beauty that the place offers, Illam also reflects rich social and cultural heritages. The major ethnic groups residing in this place are the Chettris, Magars, Gurungs, Rai, Limbus, and Sherpas.
One of the famous religious sites in Illam is the Sano Pathibhara Temple. People often confuse this temple with the Pathibhara temple in Taplejung as the names are almost the same. If you're wondering, yes, the temples are connected! The temple in Taplejung and the temple in Illam are believed to be sisters, and the one in Illam is said to be the younger one. Hence, the name has "Sano" (meaning small) in front of it. People are most likely to visit the Pathibhara temple in Taplejung the other day after visiting here as Taplejung district also lies in the same province and can easily be reached through the Phidim road.
Pathibhara Devi shrine is a famous pilgrimage site which is believed to fulfill the wishes of her devotees who visit her with great faith. The pilgrims pray to the Goddess and put forth their resolutions (Bhakal in Nepali) with wholehearted faith. The deity is highly revered by both Hindus and Buddhists.
It is believed that the Goddess at Pathibhara fulfills the wishes of her devotees. People have beliefs that she fulfills bhakals like sons to the son-less couples, wealth to the poor, and so on. Pilgrims from different parts of Nepal and India come to this place to place their Bhakals with the hope of making their desires come true. The Royal family of Nepal were also the devotees of this temple. During special occasions, the temple welcomes numerous pilgrims with various offerings like gold, silver, and some sacrifice animals.
Besides the cultural significance of the temple, the surrounding also provides a beautiful view of the Kanchenjunga Range. The lush green forest on the way has a diversity of wildlife, birds, flowers, etc., enhancing the location of the temple.
The Sano Pathibhara Temple lies in Hanspokhari in the southeast of Kolbung VDC. It lies on the way to Illam on Mechi highway, which is also a secondary route to the Kanchenjunga Trek.
The temple stands atop a hill and climbing many stairs take you to the top. Or, another way from the opposite side can also be taken, which is sort of a small hike. Right in front of the entrance, there are stalls showcasing small souvenirs that pilgrims can buy as a memory of their visit to the Pathibhara Temple.
The journey to the temple starts from Suketar, a 20-minute drive from Phungling Bazaar, and then to Sano Phedi, which is another 1-2 hours driving. 3-4 hours walk distance from Sano Phedi leads to the temple.