Nepal is famous as the land of pilgrimage. Several tourists from India, Japan, Korea, China etc visit Nepal every year for pilgrimage.
1. Pashupatinath, Kathmandu
Pashupatinath is one of the most famous Hindu pilgrimages of Nepal. It is located at north-east side of Kathmandu in the bank of holy Bagmati river. The temple of Pashupatinath was built in the 5th century and renovated by Malla kings.The site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered here. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. There is a myth that the statue grows out of its original spot and that the world will come to an end. Since the temple spread in the area of 264 hectares, and the land it includes 518 temples and other monuments. Cremation is also done at the river bank. During the festival of Maha Shivaratri, the temple welcomes more than 1 million devotees. The evening Arati program at the bank of Bagmati river is worth to watch and enjoy spirituality.
2. Boudhanath, Kathmandu
Boudhanath stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal and is considered as one of the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It was built in 14th century and it remains an important place of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists and local Nepalis. According to legend, the king constructed the stupa as an act of penance after unwittingly killing his father. Boudhanath is very famous over tourists during the festival of Losar (Tibetan New Year) in February or March during which it hosts one of the largest celebrations in Nepal. The architecture of Boudhanath provides a reminder of the Buddha’s path towards enlightenment.
- The plinth represents earth, the Kumbha (dome) is water,
- the harmonica (square tower) is fire,
- the spire is air and
- Umbrella Design at the top represents space.
- The 13 levels of the spire represent the stages that a human being must pass through to achieve nirvana.
3. Ram Janaki Mandir, Janakpur
Ram Janaki Mandir is the centre of attraction for tourists situated at Janakpur in the Mithila region of Nepal. According to the Vedic literature it marks as the birthplace of goddess Sita and is one of the holiest places in Nepal. The main point of attraction about Janaki Mandir is it’s unique and magnificent architecture which has a Mughal style. The temple only dates from 1910, but with its white marble arches, domes, turrets and screens, it feels much older. Janakpur has a majority of Hindu deities where festivals are highly followed. In Ram Navami, prayer worships inside the Ram Mandir. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Ram and is one of the holiest Hindu occasions. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple in November/December for Vivah Panchami ( marriage over 5 days ), the town major annual festival, when the marriage of Sita and Rama is celebrated with various re-enactments. A popular time too for modern-day weddings.
4. Shree Kali Mandir, Biratnagar
Kali Mandir is a holy place for Hindus situated at Biratnagar. There is a beautiful and powerful bronze icon of the goddess Durga and Kali. The temple has been worked in the conventional Nepalese style, with a pagoda comprising of three lovely rooftops. The temple was built in the 1900s. Devotees visit the temple and offer sacrifices all the year-round. it is very popular during the Dashain Festival. Big number of sacrifices is done at this temple all the year-round especially during Dashain festival. Thousands of people from Nepal and India are in the queue for worship during the Dashain festival.
5. Muktinath, Mustang
Muktinath temple is one of the oldest and very famous temples located at Mustang district. Muktinath is considered as the Lord of Liberation and it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu despite the fact that it lies in the centre of Tibetian land. Thus the temple is the religious symbiosis between both Hindus and Buddhists. Muktinath Temple has a pagoda-style design and you can sit and stare at the south the snow-covered Annapurna range, or to the north the Tibetan plateau. There are 108 waterspouts in the backyard of this temple called as Muktidhara where frozen water is continuously flowing from the bullhead and two ponds in front of the temple. Taking bath in these 108 waterspouts and two Kunda (ponds) believes to bring salvation and provide Nirvana. Tibetan Buddhists also claim Muktinath as a special place, one of 24 tantric locations and home to dakinis, supernatural beings. The best time to visit Muktinath temple is from September to November. The trekking trails will be full of trekkers and easy during these months.
6. Pathibara Devi Temple, Taplejung
Pathibhara Devi Temple is located on the hills of Taplejung. It is one of the most significant temple of nepal and considered as one of the holy places for both hinduism and kiratism.It is believed that visiting and worshipping this holy temple ensures fullfillment of wishes for the pilgrims.The pilgrims also offer huge number of animal sacrifices for the powerful Pathibhara Devi goddess. Pathibhara Devi is also considered as one of the Shakti Peethas ( Holy places where the remains of Sati Devi, Shiva’s wife, are said to have fallen ). The story says that when shepherds once led their sheep to the place where the temple lies today, hundreds of sheep disappeared as they were grazing afterward the shepherd had a dream from goddess Pathibhara saying to perform ritualistic sacrifices of sheep for her. When the sacrifice was offered and the temple and the statue was built, the lost sheep were said to have returned. The best month to visit this place are March to June and September to November. Other thatn that we can enjoy view of Kanchenjunga Mountain which is the starting point for the Kanchenjunga Trek.
7. Gosainkunda, Rasuwa
Gosainkunda is a beautiful holy lake located at Rasuwa district at the height of 4,380 m (14370 ft.).The lake surrounded by mountains is situated in Langtang National Park. The lake has a huge religious importance for Buddhists and Hindus. Every year in Janai Purnima thousands of Hindu pilgrims come here to worships God Shiva and Goddess Gauri.Buddhists Sharmans (‘Dhami or Jhaakri’), also called Bon-Po in Tamang language visit on the full moon day singing and dancing uring the trek at the beginning of their journey.The graduation ceremony for Junior Jhakris are also performed to obtain their Mastership. According to the Hindu mythology “Samundra Manthan” is related to the Gosaikunda. It is believed that Lord Shiva created this lake to drink so that he could cool his throat after swallowing the poison that came from doing Samundra Manthan. It is also said that a medium carries water directly from the lake to the tank at the Kumbheshwar Temple in Patan in the Kathmandu Valley. Autumn and Spring are the best time to visit Gosaikunda althought the weather is very unpredictable.Gosaainkunda is surrounded by beautiful scenario, Himalayas range, delightful forest and lush wild nature.
8. Halesi Mahadev, Khotang
Halesi Mahadev Temple is considered as “The Pashupatinath of The Eastern Nepal”. It is located in the hilly area between rivers Dudh Kosi on the right side and Sunkosi on the left side at Khotang District.The temple is actually a cave about 67 ft. below the surface of the land. The Haleshwor Mahadev is two feet tall Shiva Linga that enshrines inside the Cave According to the legend, the cave was created by Lord Shiva as hideout from the demon Bhasmasur.The cave is believed to be 6000 years old.There are two pillars close to each other on the north of the Shiva Linga making a narrow pass. It is believed that sinners cannot pass through this passage, but confessions of the wrongs committed would enable access through. It is said that the cow worships lord Shiva dripping her milk. On the occasion of Balachaturdashi, Shivaratri, Ram Nawami and Teej there take place of great fairs. A lot of people from different part of the country and abroad come to pay homage of the Haleshi Mahadev. This place is normally very cold and rainy during the most part of the year. It takes around 6 hours and 35 minutes to reach Halesi Mahadev from Kathmandu by bus.