Holy Sites of Nepal
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, 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 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
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 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
Ridi is among the most popular religious places in Nepal. Rikeshwor Narayan
mandir, situated here, 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.
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.
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.
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
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