In Sanskrit, Abha means aura. In Persian, it means Paradise and is the derivative of "God the Glorious". In praise of the supreme power, the word beseeches God's blessing in every affairs of life, be it travel or any other business.
Nepal is one of the ultimate Hindu Pilgrimage destinations in South-Asia. There are many ancient Hindu temples and shrines in every nook corner of the country. Most of the Hindu pilgrimage sites are rated to Gods Shiva /Vishnu and Goddess Bhagwati. Of all, Pashupatinath temple is considered one of the holiest amongst the Hindus. Our comprehensive package tour includes all the major Hindu temples and shrines in and out of Kathmandu Valley. Another attraction of this package tour is inclusive of all popular World Heritage Cultural sites in Kathmandu and sightseeing in Pokhara.
Amidst the dispute between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu over the responsibility for looking after species on earth, there appeared all of a sudden a libido, Shivalinga representing Lord Shiva, God of justice and fear. Lord Vishnu offered prayers and appraisals when he saw Lord Shiva’s radiant face with three eyes, four hands, wearing a garland and a sacred thread of serpents, a crescent moon shinning on the head and the whole body smeared with sacred ash. Lord Shiva said “I have taken this form to safeguard life on earth, so all will regard me as Pashupati,” the Savior of animals” i.e. the living things in real sense. This holy place is situated at the heart of Kathmandu where the most antique image of Kirantas some 2000 years ago. Praised and worshiped as Deity of the nation, Pashupatinath symbolizes the beginning of human settlement in the plains of Kathmandu valley.
Another famous temple among Hindus situated next to Pashupati Temple and surrounded by a wood called Shleshamantak Van (the forest of citrus fruits) is Satidevi, a beloved wife of Lord Shiva, fell apart while Lord Shiva maddened with grief over the death of the wife, kept walking wildly bearing her decaying body on his shoulder. It is one out of 51 Shaktipeethas of Satidevi. It is believed that Lord Indra, the king of the Heaven along with other gods had resided at ease at this place. Devout can find their inner wishes turn into reality.
Satidevi is described as the one with red complexion, eyes like red lotus petals, clad in red attire, and seated on red lotus. Guhya (Secret) symbolizes the inner pain and sorrowful conditions one is forced to endure in this life. She is also worshipped as a power, Shakti, which heals the hidden pain.
Located at eastern part of Kathmandu on the way to Sundarijal, Gokarna holds a distinct religious status because it is the place where Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Shiva by setting up a deer’s horn as a Shivalinga. The deer was no other than Shiva himself in disguise. So it is also called Brahmashrama.
Its sacredness has been further enhanced due to another specialty: confluence of Chandrabhaga and Bagmati river and is popularly known as North Ganga. It is more celebrated as a shrine of departed forefathers. It is believed that the dead spirits ascend to Heaven if we offer panda holy rounded ball of cooked rice offered to departed soul in a rite called shradda at this place. Its importance is equal to ten Gayas.
Changu Narayana is one of the most ancient places of pilgrimage in Kathmandu valley where god Almighty (Narayana- bearer of universe with all terrestrial and celestial things) resides at the pray of gods and goddesses. Narayana is another name of Lord Vishnu and this temple dates back around 2 millennia from now. It bears the testimony that the state religion of ancient Nepal was Vaishnavism, a sect in Hinduism later revitalized by Ramanuja, the philosopher and preacher in South India, towards the end of 11th century A.D. This is the only pilgrimage site which bears the first record of historical testimony with date. The garuda dhoja, a tall column of stone inscription, erected by Manadeva, the famous Lichchhavi King of ancient Nepal, in 464 A.D. reads:
The greatest god, Lord Vishnu, resides in Dolashikhar (the swing like hill, called Changu in local tongue) at the pray of other gods handling the movement of all three worlds: celestial, terrestrial and sub-terrestrial; so beautifully adorned by kunch shell and heavenly wheel insignia at his hands emerging from lotus colored broad chest sprinkling bliss and heavenly ecstasy on humans on earth.
It is believed that every Wednesday, Badri Narayana visits this place. So milk pudding (payasum) is offered on this day. Besides, the hill top area of the temple commands the whole view of Kathmandu valley, as it lies in Bhaktapur bordering Kathmandu district in mid-eastern part of the valley. There are so many gods and goddesses around the main temple telling legendary stories and historical incidents and time honored traditions. There is an unfinished stone carving of elephant which sweats occasionally when uncalled upheavals and disasters are going to happen in the valley. There are countless romantic episodes associated with Changu Narayana.
An antique Buddhist stupa, situated atop a green shrouded hillock at the west of Kathmandu is very famous among both Hindus and Buddhists alike. The name, Swayambhu means self-emergence i.e., not man-made but self –oozed out Another equally important and antique stupa, the biggest one in Nepal, believed to have been built in the time of Manadeva, a Lichchhavi king, is Boudhanath where foreign visitors’ esp. Buddhists are usually crowded. It is the centre of Lamaism where Buddhist texts are taught to young monks.
Staggering with extremely burning throat having drunk the venomous poison- which came out while churning the sea- Lord Shiva was wandering with parching mouth in the quest of water. As he reached Gosaikunda, he pierced the trident into the earth where burst out a spring out a spring of water. His burning throat was cooled with the water and the place was thus called Gosaikunda and the flowing water came to be named as Trisuli, Trishulganga (holy river flowing out of trident). Lord Shiva is believed to have said himself that one who has a holy dip at this place, and offers dana (charity) can have the grace of Lord Shiva. It is located in Rasuwa district of Bagmati zone to the north of Kathmandu.
The Dakshinkali temple is situated at the south west of Kathmandu City. Goddess Kali, one of the nine goddesses is believed to fulfill the wishes of the pilgrims. Animals are sacrificed in large number especially during Dashain, the biggest festival in Nepal. Devotees through at this place every day during the nine days (Navaratri) of Dashain Festival. Normally people visit the temple every Saturday and Tuesday. As the site is peaceful and is surrounded by rhododendron forests, it offers unique scenic and religious pleasure.
Because I, Lord Vishnu, exist in the form of Shaligram (sacred stone), this place is ever peaceful, secret, pleasant and salvatory. Muktinath Kshetra is the place where all gods including Lord Brahma performed a special religious rite, Yagyan for the salvation of all living species on earth. So, this place called Mukti Kshetra, the place of salvation/spiritual salvatorium. It is widely believed that sacredness of this place has been enhanced because of the presence of Trinity Gods: Vishnu as water, Shiva as fire and Brahma himself as a performer while performing the divine Yagyan.
All four species: Jarayuj (root breed), Swoidesh (self breed), Andaj (egg breed), and Udima (birth breed) who visit the place and worship gods get salvation after their death.
Besides Lord Vishnu, Brahma and me with other gods and sages shall be with you, says Lord Shiva while pronouncing the sacred value of the place. To have a holy dip at Krishnagandaki is equal to hundred holy dips at other pilgrimage sites in terms of the salvation. Mukti Kshetra includes many other holy areas. The different parts of this composite whole are compared to the organs of human body as followings:-
Charanaravinda ( Feet) - Shree Gajendramoksha Divyadham Trivenidham,
Nawalparashi Ghunda ( Knee) - Devaghatdham, Chitwan
Katti ( Waist) - Ruru kshetra, Palpa
Bakshasthal (Chest) - Shaligram Chakrasheela Galeshwordham, Myagdi
Kantha (Neck) - Pitreetirtha Kagavenidham, Mustang
Mukharvinda (Mouth) - Shree Muktinathdham, Mustang
Shree/Sheekha (Head) - Shree Damodharkunda, Mustang
The Holy stones are available all the way from Damodar Kunda to Gajendramoksha Divyadham. Among all Hindu Shrines of Nepal, Muktinath is situated at the highest altitude of 13,000 feet from sea level, in mid-hilly region of Mustang district, Dhaualagiri zone of western Nepal.
Damodari Ganga springs along Shaligram Parvat which contains Shaligram (sanctifying sacred stones)
It is the holy part of Damodar Himal elevated to 22,000 feet high from sea level situated in Mustang district.
There are numerous sanctifying glacial lakes, both small and large, where Damodari Ganga takes her form, Damodarkunda being the largest one. As a confluence of lakes and ponds such as Brahmakunda, Rudrakunda and Anantakunda; Damodarkunda contains the largest volume of water. Damodarkunda, the estuary of Krishnagandaki river, is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Hindus .Several colophons of religious scriptures describe the heavenly bliss of this Kunda ( sacred pond).So, it bears both religious and historical importance. A unique place to feel ecstasy of self and be transported to holy bliss, Damodarkunda is one of the holiest of terrestrial shrines, so reverently described in Puranas, the holy books of Hinduism.
Gloriously described in Puranas as Krishnagandaki (Black Gandaki) as well as Chakranadi, and worshipped as one of the holiest rivers, Krishnagandaki consists of seven Gandaki rivers supposed to have sprung from cheek (Gandasthal) of Lord Vishnu. It has a distinct honor of being the only river in the world to contain sacred stones (Shaligrams).Shaligram forms the stone incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Almighty Preserver of the Universe. Shaligram only resembles basalt which contains ammonite symbols of Lord Vishnu: the chakra (wheel type ring-rang diverging from a minute epic-centre gravitated inside out found free in the untouched relapses of Mother Nature).Hindu devout worship these stones at their homes.
One who performs Pitree Shradda (a rite performed to commemorate the death of the elders’ esp. parents) near Kagaveni can easily facilitate the dead towards redemption. The value of Shradda at this place is many times more prominent than that at Gaya. According to the Puranas, this place been named after a saga called Kagabhusundi who sat in penance at this place. Kagaveni lies at the bank of Kali Gandaki River on the way to Muktinath few miles away from Jomsom. This is renowned as a confluence of two rivers: Krishna Gandaki and Kaga Khola since meeting places of sacred rivers have great religious value in Hindu culture like Prayaga Ganga- the confluence of Ganga and Jamuna, and Deva Prayag-the confluence of Ganga, Jamuna and Alaknanda.
This is such a holy place where the son of Brahma, Pulai Rishi in Satya Yuga; Ravana and Rajarshi Bharat, the son of Hrishavdeva in Treta Yuga had a penance amidst green forests, gardens, fresh wind pure water and wild roots and fruits. There is huge Shaligram at this place.
It is believed that the spirits of the dead live in heaven for eternity if their descendents perform Shradda, death rite, at the place where the big sacred stone is situated. Even insects or lower species go to heaven if they die nearby or some miles away around the Shaligram.
Due to the Chakrankit Sheela, sacred stone stamped with holy wheel, the place is known as Chakra Tirtha. King Raghu received Bramhopadesh (gospels) from Jada Bharat at this holy place. There are Shivalinga, Temples, shrines, altars, public shelters (dharmashala) etc, at this place. Galeshwor, described in religious scriptures as a holy place for the time immemorial, lies in Myagdi district, Dhaulagiri zone, the western region of the country.
Located in Palpa district of western region of Nepal and known as Shree Muktinath Katti Hrishikesh Tirtha is named after the name of god so addressed at His grace by Ruru, a famous legendary woman devotee who was in a deep penance in devotion of god. The Purana says that god was so happy to see Ruru in such devotion that he stood outside her hermitage. She requested him to sit inside and god converted himself into a big and beautiful stone, Hrishikesh Sheela.
Located at the border of three districts: Tanahu, Chitwan and Nawalparasi, Devaghat is the confluence of three main holy rivers: Kali Gandaki, Seti Gandaki and Trishuli. This is one of Nepal’s most important pilgrimage sites which contain numerous temples and a famous cave. It is believed that one gets the blessing equal to many good deeds. Scholars say that the name originally came from Devaghatt.
According to Shreemadhagavata and Barah Purana, once upon a time there was a war between an elephant king (Gajaral) and a crocodile (Graha) that lasted for hundreds of years. Lord Vishnu heard the prayers from the elephant and descended on Garuda to rescue him. As he arrived at the place, one leg of the elephant was already in the mouth of the crocodile. The god safely rescued the elephant from the menacing jaws of the crocodile.
This place is situated in Nawalparashi district near the Indian border at the west bank of Narayani River. It is the point where two rivers: Swornabhadra and Purnabhadra meet Narayani river. There are many temples out of which Laxminarayana Temple and Gajendramokshya Temple are famous.
Speaking to Lord Vishnu who is going to punish the demons, Lord Shiva states: Vishnu! Go to pacify the demons by bearing a sober body with an enlightened mind rather than go with dazzling personality. Thus, Lord Vishnu entered into the womb of Mayadevi, the wife of king Suddodhan, and was born in Kapilbastu district of western region of Nepal. Hindus believe Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The gospels and sermons of peace and fraternity Buddha spread over the world to redeem humanity from the sufferings and chains of life are still unquestionably followed by the people all over the world. Such supreme soul was born in the pious soul of Lumbini. One, who visits the place, meditates there and follows the teachings of Buddha can really get redemption from all sorrows of the world. Buddha is worshipped as an incarnation of God among Hindus and Prophet among Buddhists. There is tall column erected by a king from India, Ashoka, known as Ashoka Stumbha at the heart of Lumbini bearing the physical testimony of historical truth that Buddha was born at this place.
Long back, Viddyadhara (writers of religious texts) and gods got heavenly pleasure through their meditation and by performing Yagyan at this place. Since then, Vedic yagyan with a Vedic slogan known as “Yagyan vai Vishnu” (Flames as Lord Vishnu) has been continuously going on till date for 108 years. On the basis of that principles, his holiness Swami Shree Hansananda Giri Sworgadwari Mahaprabhu set up a Vedic yagyan in Pyuthan district, mid-western region of Nepal at 6960 feet height and started panchmahayagyan. Myth further says the king of gods; Indra had also performed a Yagyan in Satya Yuga at this place. Vageshwori Situated in Nepalgunj, Banke district of mid-western region of Nepal, the temple of goddess Vageshwori is famous as the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. Goddess Vageshwori is one of the sites of power, Shaktipeetha. Like Guhyashwori, this place is recognized as the site where Satidevi’s tongue had fallen apart as her decaying body was being carried by her husband, Lord Shiva. There is an image of the goddess Bhagavati on her ride, tiger. The premise of the temple is enriched with images of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Mahakali, Lord Krishna and other gods and goddesses. At the entrance of the temple are huge and life-like images of lions. One specialty of this temple is that a lamp in a shelf at the left corner always remains ablaze uninterrupted. Priests from Nath clan perform their holy rites everyday. Chandannath This temple was set up by Siddababa, Chandannath a priest from Nath clan and so it was named after him. Here is no image of god but the prominent presence of Lord Vishnu, Dattatreya is symbolically represented by wooden slipper (kharau). God Dattatrya is believed to give happiness and salvation. Such a huge famous temple with a great religious faith among Hindus and Buddhists is situated in Jumla district, Karnali zone of mid-western region of Nepal. All priests of this temple belong to Nath clan.6th and 7th chapter of Sreemadhagavata’s 11th skanda describe n detail that Dattatreya learnt from 24 elements like earth, water sky and others. Vindhyavasini Vindhyavasini temple is situated on a hillock in the heart of Pokhara city in the western part of the country. People worship Vindhyavasini as the mother goddess who fulfills the wishes of her devotees. There are other shrines, temples and monasteries in the area. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of Machhapuchre hold the visitors spellbound.
The temple of Bajrayogini is situated at Sankhu to the north-east of the Kathmandu City on the top of Manichud hill mentioned also in the holy book of Buddhism. The Guna monastery is also situated in the lap of this hill. So, both Hindus and Buddhists visit the place with equal reverence. Large numbers of pilgrims visit this place especially on public holidays and during the nine days of Dashain festival (Navaratri)
Goddess Laxmi was born as a daughter of King Janak in Dhanusha district of modern Nepal. The place, Janakpur is named after the king whose daughter Sita; Janaki became the wife of Lord Rama. Religious books describe the place thus: As there is no perfection of moon without Purnima (full moon), one can not complete religious pilgrimage without visiting Mithila, Janakpur, remains unobstructed. As a result, one gets the companionship of Lord Rama after death, say Shruti and Smriti Puranas.
Jaleshwor literally means God of water because of the Shiva Linga situated under the surface of the water. Located in Mahottari district of central terai region of the country, it is said that about 250 years ago, a hermit named Jagadesh had visited this place and had meditated. He then made a prophecy that the soil of this place would crack and Shiva Linga would emerge. Because of this belief, even today, the ritual of offering food to the hermit Jagadesh takes place in the month of Mangsir (November/December), of each year and his Shraddha is performed. During the Shivaratri festival, great religious gatherings take place at this temple.
The temple of Dolakha Bhimsen in Dolakha district of eastern Nepal is a very important site for all Hindus. It is commonly believed that this temple was already in existence in the 7th century. There is a strong belief that people will be blessed with children if they pay a visit and worship Bhimeshwor, the idol of this temple. The devotees will also be blessed with a prosperous life and be saved from evil. The occasional perspiration of the stone idol is strongly believed to be the sign of impending natural calamity or political changes in the country.
The temple of Gadhi Mai, located in Bara district of central terai region, is visited by millions of Hindus. It is a temple where the largest numbers of animal sacrifices are offered. A month –long fair is held in the month of Mangsir (November / December) once in every five years to worship the goddess. During this fair the devotees first take a holy dip in the sacred pond and offer homage to the goddess with animal sacrifices. The sacrifices of animals to the goddess Gadhi Mai are believed to fulfill the wishes of her devotees.
Lord Vishnu, by taking the incarnation of a boar (Baraha) protected the earth from being submerged into Patal (underworld) with his long tusk. Then the Lord sat with his wife Laxmi at the bank of Koshi River and the lap of Himalayas and hills. So, the place bore its name after that event. There is a big and beautiful image of the Baraha incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that all wishes are fulfilled during life and one gets the eternal grace from Lord Vishnu after death if one takes holy dips at the confluence of Koshi and Koka rivers and worships god at the temple. Shradda performed at this place has greater value than that performed at Gaya.
During the time of churning of the sea by gods and demons, there surfaced foam out of which was Shiva Linga made and set up amidst holy rites and Prana Pratistha at Rudraksyaranya, Bijayapur. It was called Pindeshwor because the linga was made out of sea nectar. Lord Shiva who was sitting invisibly at a Holy Tree, Rudraksha, came to the visibility in the form of the linga for the welfare of the world.
Situated in Dharan, Bijayapur of Sunsari district, Budhasubba is worshipped by Limbus as khewasamang deva and by others as Lord Shiva. Long ago, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati under the guise of Khewasang and Yuwasamang, Kiranti King and Queen in the process of hunting arrived at Vijaypur where they stuck their bows and sat in a penance. During then, they realized the approach of Kaliyuga and immediately disappeared. That event is called Budhasubba in Kiranti language. From the bows sprouted bamboo shoots without the tuft. Another myth mentions the event of Ekalavya in deep meditation and self training of archery by setting up an image of Guru Dronacharya, famous teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas. It says Ekalavya himself is Budhasubba. Worship and meditation at this place are believed to fulfill one’s wishes.
Halesi Mahadev caves located in the western part of Khotang district of eastern Nepal are believed to have been dug by Lord Shiva to hide himself from demon, Bhasmasur who had acquired the power to set anyone on fire. Haleshi Mahadevastha is also known as Pashupatinath of the east. This cave temple has a Shiva linga that pilgrim worship. Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims from different parts of Nepal and India visit Haleshi during Maha Shivaratri, Rama Nawami and other special occasions. Haleshi is now being developed into a tourist destination.
Goddess at Pathibhara is believed to fulfill the long – cherished dreams of her devotees, like son for sonless and wealth for poor. Devotees make pilgrimage to Pathibhara where their wishes come true. Buddhists living in the vicinity light lamps at the temple on the full moon nights. There are several ponds in the area of Pathibhara of Taplejung district, far eastern region of Nepal where pilgrims take holy dips and observe traditional fairs. In this region, pilgrims can also visit monasteries situated in Olangchungola and Lungchung, the waterfall at Sawa and the pond of Timbuk, during autumn and spring every year.
Baidyanath kshetra is located in Achham district, the far western region of Nepal, at the right bank of Briddaganga River, one of the four important regions of Aryavarta, the land of Aryans. The places described in Manaskhanda of Skandapurana are as follows:
- Baidyanath based in Garudagunj, famous as a place where Goddess Parvati was married to Lord Shiva.
- Four sites (Chardhama): Kailash, Manasrovar, Khocharnath and Achham-based Baidyanath. The following lines are the holy words of Lord Shiva himself. Called on by maharshi (saga the great) to please me, the confluence of Bridaganga and Saraswoti River is my symbol and my holy site. This place is famous Baidyanath which is lovelier than Kailash and Vindyachal. On this earth, I am medicine and doctor myself. Gods get medicines of thousands of diseases and pray me as baidyanath (lord of medicines) and get rid of problems. Until men worship the Jyotirlinga at Baidyanath, human beings keep wandering as sufferers of diseases. It is one of the four religious sites, Chardhama of Nepal; Pashupat Kshetra, Muktinath Kshetra, Baraha Kshetra, Baidyanath Kshetra. Baidyanath is described as a savior / redeemer for the devout. This is believed to be the place where Ravana, the antagonist in The Ramayana, sat in penance in devotion of god.
The above lines say that Goddess Malika Temple is located at the side of Briddaganga, in front of Karnali River at the height of 4210 m. in Bajura district of Seti zone. On the left of the temple lies devatata and to the south is a mountain called Poor. It is believed that those born in the previous life the devotion of goddess, devi go to visit the temple. Even the human beings who have committed the crimes like killing of Brahmanas, (Brhamhatya), drinking liquor (surapana) etc, can also be purged of sins if they visit the temple .The knowledge, which can not be possible through the knowledge of Sankhyayoga; the first explanation of earth ,can be achieved through this pilgrimage. This goddess is more famous than in other temples. To the south of the Briddaganga lies Khaptad Mountain (Achham) which is extended in the area of 56 x 22 miles. In the middle of the area are 5 images of Lord Shiva, carved by a famous craftsman in Hindu mythology, Vishwokarma. In located a sacred stone of Lord Shiva Shankara Sheela, surrounded by thousand personified columns, lingas, to be worshipped by gods and gandarvas (heavenly singers).Thus, Sahashreshwor Mahadeva is enshrined in the middle. Sahashreshwor is worshipped by gods in Khechar/ Khaptad area as widely as Bishweshwor in Kashi, Varanashi. Criminals and lepers also get deliverance from sins if they visit this place and worship gods. The value of this place has been further enhanced due to a great sage enlightened with knowledge of medicines, philosophy and religion, Khaptad Swami who stayed there for a long time until his death. Saileshwori One, who reads and listed the myth of the emergence of Goddess Saileshwor, gets rid of crimes and gets blessings. Devout can be endowed son, property, Knowledge and salvation. Such an important place in Doti district.
The temple of Siddha Nath Baba is located at the central part of Mahendranagar city of far- western region of the country. It is believed that desires get fulfilled when one pays homage to Siddha Nath Baba after worshipping Goddess Purnagiri at Tanakpur, a nearly Indian border city. The Purnagiri temple is a famous pilgrimage site in North India. The tradition of offering bell to the Siddha Nath Baba temple after one’s wish is fulfilled is maintained to this day. Religious gathering takes place at this temple especially during the festivals like Navaratri. Holi Purnima, Teej, Panchami and Gaura etc. Devotees from India also come to pay homage to Siddha Nath Baba.
Just like in India, the four Dhams of Nepal denoted as Kshetras form a complete pilgrimage. Besides the above mentioned major pilgrimage sites, there are numerous other holy places which bear mythical and cultural significance. Among many places, Kathmandu alone harbors hundreds of temples and gombas. Therefore, it is rightly called the city of temples. In addition, innumerable images and symbols of gods and goddesses from antique times have enriched our religious treasury.
The temples and images are important both for religious and aesthetic purposes because they have beautiful decorations, designs, carvings and symmetry in addition to their strong religious significance.
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