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Hindu Pilgrimage Destinations


Pashupatinath :
Lord Shiva is worshipped as Pashupati, which means Lord of all living creatures. The temple of Pashupatinath is 6 Km east of Kathmandu. Pasupat-Chhetra (site of Pashupatinath) is one of the holiest places in Hindu Kingdom of Nepal. Many Hindu Pilgrims come Pashupatinath round the year. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu from all over World make Pilgrimage on the day of Shivaratri (Night of Shiva, one day before black moon in February). There are many temples of various Hindu Gods in the holy site. Guheswori temple is the most important among other temples. A walk from this temple to Aryaghat near Pashupatinath temple is very popular among non-Hindu tourists. Pashupatinath Temple area is UNESCO World Heritage
site.

Balmiki Ashram :
The Balmiki Ashram is situated in a forest on the banks of the Tribeni river, at the south - western corner of Royal Chitwan National Park. It was a retreat used by the great Hindu sage, Balmiki. This is where Sita is said to have lived with her two sons, Labha and Kusha, after separating from Rama. Various statues were unearthed in this area during an archeological excavation I the late 60's. Recently, a temple of Sita has been built here.

Varahakshetra :
Varahakshetra, located at the confluence of the Saptakoshi and Koka rivers, is 20 km away from a town in eastern Nepal - Dharan. Varahakshetra is among the four great Hindu Pilgrimages. Here, the Boar- Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is said to have killed the demon-Hiranakshya. Apart from the main shrine dedicated to Varah, there are many to the temples with images of the Varaha in Varahakshetra. Every year on the first of Magh (November), a religious fare takes place here.

Devghat :
Devghat is situated 6 km to the north of Narayanghat, the gateway to the Royal Chitwan National Park. On the day of the Makar Sankranti festival in January pilgrims come here to take holy dips in Narayani, formed by the meeting of the Kali Gandaki and Trishuli. There is a settlement of a community of elderly, retired people here. Devghat can be reached by taking a daily flight or bus service.

Dhanushdham :
Dhanushadham, a historical and religious site, dates back to the time of the great epic - Ramayana. It is located 18 km north -east of Janakpur in the south - central region of Nepal. Dhanushadham was the place where Lord Rama had broke Shiva's divine bow, a condition for winning the hand of Sita in marriage. According to the epic, one of the three pieces of the bow fell in the present day Dhanushadham.

Muktinath :
Muktinath of religious importance to both Hindus and Buddhists. The main shrine of Muktinath is a pagoda - shaped temple dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. In the walls around it are 108 water spouts. The Jwala Mai temple nearby has a spring and an eternal flame fed by natural gas. Muktinath is set in an altitude of 3,800 mt. in the north - central part of Nepal. It is a six - hour walk from the Jomsom airport. Helicopters are also available.

Ridighat :
Ridighat is among the most popular religious places in Nepal. Rikeshwara Narayan mandir, situated here, with 50 other small temples. Pilgrims visit here to earn merit for this life as well as for their next life. It is the local version of the Pashupatinath temple with its auspicious Ghats (cremation grounds). It is situated at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and the Ridi Khola, linked by a 50 km dirt road to the hill resort town of Tansen. During the Makar Sankranti festival, hundreds of devotees from different parts of the world throng the Dhanusha temple to worship the fossilized bow fragments and to take ritual dips in the river. Here there are other temples dedicated to Ram and Ganesh too.

Gosaikund :
A lake is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva when he thrust his Trishula (trident) into a mountain to extract water so that he could cool his stinging throat after he had swallowed poison. There is a large rock in the center of the lake, which is said to be the remains of a Shiva shrine. People often claim that they see Shiva lying in the water. Devotees gather here in hordes on the full moon night of August to take holy dips in the lake. Gosaikunda is situated at the altitude of 4380 mt. to the north of Kathmdnu on the Langtang trekking trail. The holy lake is a two day long trek from Dhunche, which can be reached through an adventurous 118 km mountain road from Kathmandu via Trishuli Bazaar.

Shaligrams and Shalgrams :
The Shaligrams are specifically described as fossil-stones which have taken shape in the Gandaki-river, and as characterized by the presence of discus marks . The legend, related at length tells us that Gandaki, the lady-devotee, performed penances for long years, and that she got a boon from Vishnu, which made Vishnu reside in her womb (in her depths) as her own offspring; the Shaligram-stones are thus the forms of Vishnu. Like the worship of Siva in the form of a lingam, the worship of Vishnu in the shape of a Shaligram is an iconic in character. Shaligrams are always naturally found in the river Gandaki. The region where Shaligrams are found is also called Shalgrams. The Shaligrams region is in Mustang and River Gandaki basin. These also include the famous Kali-Gandaki river, Muktinath, Damodar Himal, Damodar Kunda, Devghat, etc.

Damodarkund :
Damodarkund is a glacier lake at the slope of Damodar Himal in Mustang. The Damodar lakes are located three days walk north east of the main Mustang trekking route and very close to the border with Tibet. Damodar Kunda is the source of River Kaligandaki. The site is in the region of Shaligram and hence it is also called Shalgrams. Other names of River Gandaki are Kaligandaki, Sptagandaki, and Narayani.

Manakamana :
The temple of Manakamana, a very popular pilgrimage in Nepal, is a temple of one of the manifestations of the Hindu goddess Bhagawati. Bhagawati is believed to have the power to fulfill wishes. It lies 125 km to the west of Kathmandu. It is a steep three - hour hike from Abu Khairenion the Kathmandu-Gorkha highway. A cable car also take travelers to Manakamana.

Simraugadh :
The capital of the former kingdom of Tirahut, is the seat of a rich civilization, which peaked between the 11th and 14th centuries. The ancient city suffered terrible devastation in the hands of invaders but its cultural glory remained in the archeological treasures that are found here. Simraugdh is situated in the Terai plains to the south of Kathmandu. The most convenient access to this place, by air, is from Birgunj (270 km away from Kathmandu). Another route to Simraugadh is Flight to Simara (15 minutes) and then a drive to Birgunj (25 km) from where it is 45 km to Simraugadh

Muktinath :
This is one of the 106th sacred Muktichhetra (assured of salvation) of 108 sacred place of Vaishnavs, where Lord Vishnu got free from the curse of Sati. Here is a largest Shaligram. Here is also a Jwaladevi, a divine flame is continuously burning since thousands of year. This pagoda –shaped temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated at an altitude of 3800 m. Set into the wall around 108 water spouts from which pour holy water.

Janakpur :
Janakpur is in 375 Km south east of Kathmandu and is famous Hindu pilgrimage site.
Janakpurdham is a birthplace of Janaki Sita. Janaki Sita was married to Lord Ram the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Places of interest are: JanakiTemple, Biwah Mandap, and numerous beautiful ponds. The most auspicious day for the Pilgrimage is Biwah Panchami (November). It is day of celebration of the wedding of the Goddess Sita and the God Ram with mock wedding processions. Many pilgrims from Nepal and India attend the celebration. A holy saint Sri Shurkiswor Das discover the ruins of the ancient capital Mithila King and the birth place of Sita. The present temple was built by Queen Brishabhanu of Tikramgarh of India.

Barahachhetra :
Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe, has incarnated as Baraha (Boar) in this region and hence it is called Barahachhetra. It is one of the four holy places in Nepal. According to Puran that Lord Vishnu came down to earth in the form of a boar and destroyed Hiranyakashyapu, an evil demon, at this very spot. It is on the bank of Saptakoshi. This pilgrimage is accessed through Dharan. Since the site is related to Lord Vishnu it is assumed as sacred as Gaya for Shraddha (Offering to ancestors). The Pilgrimage is at a confluence of tributaries of river Koshi and hence many pilgrims around Nepal and India come here for dip at the day of Makar Shankrati.

Contact for further Info:

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Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel.: 0977 - 01- 4256217, 4256228, 4256231, 4256232
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