Nepal as a small spot in the globe is great in itself due to its natural, geographical, cultural and social diversities. Various castes, languages, religions are being followed by the people of different communities. They have their own and peculiar beliefs. This very belief makes them set off in pilgrimages, keeping fasting etc.
The major pilgrimages of Nepal:
DamodarKunda: linked with the northern border of China, Tibet, this Kunda gets ever snowing form Damodar Himalaya. It has numerous lakes and ponds and its water is a bit yellow in color. However, people take bath in this water as a pilgrimage. During rainy season rabbit, deer, dusk, etc are found in the bushy grass of this area. One can use bus from Pokhara to Naubise and walk for about seven days to reach at this sacred place. Trekking route involves the places like Galeshwor, Tukuche, Charang etc. Hotels and lodges are available on the way. Air way to Jomsom and trekking is an alternative route to it.
Munktinath: muktinath a great pilgrimage of Nepal, lies at hilly region of Mustang district and carries a special importance and belief among Nepalis. There is a pond named HansaTirtha in the eastern part of Muktinath temple. There are other ponds too. Water of these ponds is drained through 108 pipes which are at the temple’s periphery. People take bath in these taps with a belief to achieve purgation and salvation after death. Because of this very belief of salvation, this place is named Muktichhetra (salvation area). Temple is in pagoda style with a brass roof and three stories. A statue of god Bishnu is inside the temple. A motorway from Pokhara to Beni and trekking from Beni to Galwshwor, Tatopani, Tunuche, Marpha, and Jomsom for four to five days can lead one to the temple. A motorway to Jomsom at present has cut a trekking days short whereas airways from Pokhara also takes us to Jomsom and rest is to be walked on foot.
Kagbeni: it lies on the way to Muktinath at a juncture where Kali river in the north from Damodarkunda and Gandaki from Muktinath meet to each other making an angle (Beni). Due to this very reason it is called Kagbeni. People or devotees on their way to Muktinath or Damodar Kunda take bath, offer to their dead parents ( Tarpan) and perform Shradha( a procedure where dead parents are being remembered by children esp. sons) in a belief that their parents would get salvation and heaven in the next world. One can use bus to Beni from Pokhara and walk across Galeshwor, Marpha, Tukuche, and Jomsom to reach at Kagbeni.
Galeshwor: This pilgrimage is situated on the bank of Kaligandaki in north of Beni in Mayagdi district. There is a great stone called Salgrami (dewa) shila (stone) along with a two story temple in pagoda style. It is also mentioned in Pancham Iskandha of Shreemadbhagbat. Three days from Kartik Sukla Akadashi are celebrated with religious gathering over here. One reaches Myagdi from Pokhara by bus and Galeshwor from Myagdi on foot for few hours.
Maisthan (Baglung): It is located in the middle of the jungle at a height nearby Kaligandaki in Baglung. This temple is built in pagoda style with two stories and has an alter in its eastern part where the animal sacrifice is offered to Bhagawati Devi in a belief that one gets truth by such sacrifices. A special worshipping takes place during Chaite Dashain. A motor journey to Baglung from Pokhara and after few hours walking takes one to this beautiful and religious place of Baglung.
Gupteshwor (Mahadev) Gufa (Cave): With the natural statues of Gupteshwor Shivalinga and other god and goddesses inside it, this cave is located in the level of Kaligandaki River at Kusma Shivlaya VDC of Parvat district. A special worshipping of Mahadev takes place during Bala Chaturdashi and Shiva Ratri. A motorway from Pokhara to Kusham has brought it in an easy access.
Bindhyabasini Temple: Bindhyabasini temple is at Mohariyatole of the naturally decorated city Pokhara. It is on the rectangular slate in a slight height from Pokhara city. Bhagwati’s statue is placed inside the temple and other statues of Shiva, Hanuman, Saraswoti etc. are in the surrounding of the temple. It is worshipped on Navaratri. Air way and motor way services from many places of Nepal are available to reach at Pokhara.
Talbarahi Temple: Lakes like Fewa, Rupa, Begnas, Khoste, Maidi, Dipang, Gadwal etc have made Kaski a district of lakes. Among them in the middle of Fewa Lake at the beautiful city Pokhara, is Talbarahi temple built in Pagoda style with two copper roofs. There is a beautiful statue of Barahi Bhagwati inside the temple.
Bhadrakali: Bhadrakali temple is situated in the eastern part of Pokhara city . it is in the middle of the jungle having stony stairs to reach over here. Here people make an especial worship on Navaratra.
Akala Temple: Akala temple is situated at Lamachaur VDC in the western part of Pokhara city. Generally worshipping takes place daily but a special worshiping is done on Navaratra. It is built in a pagoda style and a statue of Akaladevi is placed inside it. Other temples of other god and goddesses are in its surrounding, one can reach at this temple after a short time period by bus from Pokhara city.
Manakamana Temple: Three storied Manakamana temple with various kinds of tundals in its lower floor is situated at Manakamana VDC of Gorkah district where therer are many stony images of god and goddess. The biggest of them is Manakamana goddess accompanied in each side by the images of Ganesh and Bhairav. Her worshipping is supposed to fulfill every wishes of people. Therefore people gather here all the year. After two to 2.5 hours long drive form Katmandu to the foot of the hill and ten minutes long journey in cable car, one reaches at the temple. Or one can take a route of trekking which consists the services of hotels and lodges.
Gosainkunda: Gosainkunda, the origin of a sacred river Trishuli, is a famous pilgrimage of Hindus. It is a big, crystal, and clear lake situated in the Himalayan part of Rasuwa district. Since it is located at the top of tall Himalayas, it is perfectly decorated by the natural beauties. Near to it lie other ponds or lakes like Nagkunda, Kudhakunda, Ganeshkunda, Saraswotikunda etc. Gestha Sukla Dashami, Ashad Sukla Purnima and Shrawan Shukla Purnaima( Rishi Tarpani) are holy days to bathe in this lake and people gather in a large number during these days. One can reach to Dhunche of Rasuwa from Kathamandu by bus and three to four days long trekking after a night stay at Dhunche is enough to reach at this place. Since it is in 13 thousand feet height from the sea level, one may feel high altitude. It doesn’t have an enough services of hotels and lodges.
Pashupatinath: Kathamandu, the capital city of Nepal is known as a city of temples and god/ goddesses where there are the temples, stupas, and monasteries etc. that are not found in such number in other cities. Among these all, Pashupatinath is the most worshipped god of Hindus. His temple is located on the bank of Bagmati River, in a pagoda style and is supposed to be most ancient. Shankaracharya during the eighth century managed its repairing along with a modern worship system and priest (Bhatt). It is two stored temple with silver covered doors and pillars. God and goddesses are carved in the wooden tundal( corners) of the temple. Roofs are made up of gold mixed slates of brass. Western door of it is the main entry door; the temple is surrounded by the statues of different god and goddesses. People or devotees gather here during shivaratri, Haritalika, Balachaturdashi, Haribodhani Akadashi, Biakunthavchaturdashi etc.
Budhanilakanta: Artistically a best statue of god Narayan is placed in a small pond in the front of shivapuri hill, an origin of two sacred rivers Bagmati and Bishnumati. This statue is called Budhanilakantha. In the surrounding of this pond are other small temples and statues including Shivalinga. Devotees gather here during every Monday of Shrawan, Kartik Shukal Dwadshi and whole Baisakh month. His worshipping is believed to enrich people with wealth. It is about ten kilometer far in northern side of Katmandu with the services/facilities of all kinds of vehicles from here.
Suryabinayak: A Ganesh temple is situated in a small hill covered by jungle in the southern part of Kodari highway nearby Bhaktapur city known as Suryabinayak. The natural images of Ganesh in stones inside the temple are worshipped as a god. In front of Binayak, stony image lies in a pillar with a statue of a mouse (his riding). It is believed to have built during the seventh century. There are other statues of different goddesses in the periphery of the temple. During Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur, Magha and Navaratri of Dashain, devotees gather here to worship lord Ganesh. One can travel to its foot from Kathamandu by bus.
Bhadrakali: on the top of a dump in the southern part of Tundikhel in Kathmandu is Bhadrakali temple where goddesses Bhadrakali lies simple but with a feeling in a stony form. Bhadrakali here is worshipped in her Chamunda guise. Ghodejatra is a main occasion of this place. Bhaadrakali Devi is worshiped with special attention during Navaratra of Dashain.
Sankata Temple: it is at Tebbahal in Kathamadu in a form of residential house where the worshipping room and Sankata’a statue is placed on the first floor. God’s images are carved on the tundals of this temple. Similarly there are statues of god and Buddha too. Worshipping of Her is believed to redeem one from bad stars. Every Saturday and at Nabaratri in Dashain, devotees gather in this temple.
Matatirtha: there is a tradition of worshipping, offering food, fruits and new clothes to mother at Matatirtha aunsi and those who have lost their mother simply go ot Matatirtha in the western top of a hill at Gurjudhara in Kathmandu to take bath, offer tarpan( offering food to dead parents) and do Shradha( a memory and process of remembering the dead parents). Here is a staute of Mahalaxmi and a Shivalinga. There is a motor service from Kathamndu to Matatirtha.
Shwoyambhunath Monastery: it is situated in a hill covered by jungle in the western part of kathmandu valley. It is a pilgrimage of Buddhists. There are stone- steps to reach at the top of and big statues of Buddha are placed on both sides of the stairs’ bottom. At the top, there is a metal inscribed with twelve gold mixed brass astrologic animals in front of the main monastery. Near to monastery is two stored pagoda styled metal roofed Haratimata’s temple that is taken as a guardian to children and the temple too. Nearby is a small monastery of Mahamanjushree. Devotees make a special worship during Shukla Purnima in Baisakh every year and gathering takes place during every full moon, ShreePanchami, Ashad and Shrawan. Even the foreign devotees come to worship Shwoyambhunath.
Dakshinkali: In the northern part of Kathamandu valley, a power place of goddess Bhagawati, Dakshinkali temple lies at the meeting point of two streams on the foot of a hill. Since it is in the southern side of Kathmadnu, it is named as Dakshinkali. It’s roof is made up of metal. Inside the temple is a black ( sacred stone) staute of Bhagawati Kali along with other statues of Kumari Maheshwori, Barahi, Indrayani, Ganesh etc. every Saturday and Tuesday people make a special worship of Kali in a belief that they will be blessed with peace, pleasure and fame. One hour long drive from Kathmandu is enough to reach at this temple.
Changunarayan: Chagunarayan temple is situated on a hill in the northern side of Bhaktapur city. This artistic temple contains stone and cupper inscriptions along with statues of different god and goddesses. There are door in every side of the temple; western door among the fours is a main door. A couple statues of lion are at this door and the doors are covered b gold. Above it is a beautiful and artistic metal statue of god Narayan and other statues of god and goddesses are placed on both sides of it. Different avatars of god Bishnu including a pillar with a great conch is in front of the temple. People make a special worship on Dwadashi, full moon and Wednesday. One can reach at the foot of Changunarayan hill by bus from Kathmandu.
Godawari: Godawari lies at the bottom of Fulchwoki hill in the southern part of Lalitpur district. On the hill there is a temple of Fulchwoki Mai and a pond at bottom which is a sacred pilgrimage. Water of this pond is drained by five stony taps to the next pond and the devotees take bath in these five taps. A natural staute of Linga of Siddheswor Mahadev lies on the wall in the northern hill whereas there are other statues of god Bishnu and may god and goddesses outside the cave. After bath, devotees consecrate water to Jaleshwor Mahadev with full of reverence. It is in a distance of 12 km from Kathmandu valley.
Krishna Temple: as an attraction of Patan Darbar Square les the Krishna temple in a Bharato Sikhar style with paintings of major events of Ramayana and Mahabharata in the first and the second floor respectively. A beautiful and great statue of lord Krishna is placed inside the temple. Devotees gather here in a large number during every Krishna Janmastami.
Rato(Red) Machhindranath: Rato machhindranath is a god who makes all rain of Kathmandu valley in time. Therefore His jatra is one among many jatras celebrated in Kathmandu. He is also known as a god of rain. This temple is situated at Patan in Lalitpur district in an artistic form in three storied Nepali style behind the temple of Minnath. Peacock, horse, hull, lion, elephant etc are carved on its pillars. His statue is placed at Bagmati for six months and rest six months at Patan. It is carried over the city in a chariot during jatra.
Nyayatpol temple: During the 16th century, king Bhupatendra Malla had built this temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square with a statue of power possessed goddess Bhagwati Siddhilaxmi established inside it. At pedestal of the temple are placed two statues of strong male guards named Jayamalla and Patta Malla whereas in other stpeps are a couple statues of elephant , lion, Shardul. At top, there are the statues of goddess Devi. Temple is decorated with beautiful wooden craft. Less than one hour long drive takes us to this temple from Kathmandu.
Shworgadwari ( a door to heaven) : it is a sacred pilgrimage of Pyuthan district where a Yangyakunda( a pit where a great offering and worshiping are made by rishis) was established a hundred years ago and still its flaming continuously. Therefore this place is known as a Yanga shelter. People believe tht the Pandavas in Dwapar era had made a yangya in this very place. The Yangyas in this place go on the whole year. It is on the top of the hill. Reciting of Beda, Geeta, Shreemadbhagwat, Chandi takes place every time. There is a motor way from Bhaluwnag to Pyuthan to Bhingri and a daylong walking is enough to reach at Swargadwari..
Lumbinin: On her way from Tilaurakot Palace to her mother’s house, under a Sal tree Mayadevi gave birth to her son Siddhartha in Lumbini. Siddhartha is a birth name of lord Buddha. This place lies in Rupandehi district of Lumbini zone, as a central and sacred pilgrimage of all the Buddhists of the world. On the other word, Lumbini is a pilgrimage of the whole the human kind since there profounder of peace and non- violence lord Buddha was born over here. In 1970 international Lumbini Development Committee was founded in an active effort of the then general secretary of United Nations Organization in New York involving the representatives from 13 countries. Renowned Japanese professor Pakenjo Tange prepared a Master Plan that included the sectors Lumbini Grand, Monastic Zone, and Sacred Garden. This place is well linked to India as well as there are all motorways nd airways connections to the different parts of Nepal. One can reach to this place through Butwal , Bhairahawa route. There is a good facility of hotels and lodges at Lumbini.
Devghat: Devghat is a meeting point of Kaligandaki and Trishuli rivers and most important pilgrimage among others. This is a bank where gods used to take bath, therefore it is named as Devghat. The old temples in this area were built by Palpali king Mani Mukunda Sen whereas the new too are built at present. There are some sacred and famous natural caves in this area including Bisistha Gufa, Durga Gufa, Sita Gufa etc. where saints in an ancient times used to meditate. People gather here during Manghe Sankranti. Motorways from different places of Nepal lead one to this area. Beside it, there is a good facility of lodges and hotels too.