Pilgrimage Sites of Nepal: In the haven of Gods
Pilgrimage sites of Nepal: In the haven of Gods
It is a well-known fact that Nepal is a melting pot of mountains, rivers, history, culture, temples and everything that comes in between. From the highest of the mountains that give you an adrenaline charge, to some of the holiest and most sacred pilgrimage sites in the world if you are looking to delve in some spirituality, you will be amused to find yourself immersed in bounty of such opportunities.
Dominated by two major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, Nepal is a goldmine when it comes to holy pilgrimage sites. Devotees from across continents come to visit the country just to wash off their sins and encounter the bliss one can experience in these sacred places. While the list of both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites would most certainly be a lengthy one, here are a few that are some of the most popular ones and that must be visited at least once in your lifetime.
1. Pashupatinath Temple
When you’re talking about Nepal and its pilgrimage sites, it is impossible to miss out on Pashupatinath Temple. Regarded as the holiest place for Hindus, hundreds and thousands of Hindus and devout devotees of Lord Shiva flock here every year, especially during Shivaratri to offer their prayers. Believed to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered in the premises of the temple, it is a blessed ground where you can find sadhus draped in orange and yellow, cremations being carried out, and one of the most sublime aarati being performed every evening.
Nepal does not just reside the holiest Hindu pilgrimage site, but also the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. Located in the Terai region, Mayadevi Temple is one of the important places you can visit in Lumbini. The Ashoka Pillar that holds inscriptions which depict the birth of Gautam Buddha is also a major site in the complex. It is believed that it was the place where the Buddha was born and took his first seven steps, and went on to become the one to spread the message of peace and humanity. With several beautiful monasteries and a blissful garden, you can see several monks praying and meditating while humming the melodious chants.
3. Budhanilkantha Temple
Considered to be one of the most sacred Vishnu temples in the country, the Budhanilkantha Temple is a blend of beautifully intricate artwork of the sculpture of the sleeping Vishnu, and equally amusing folklore of how the place came to be. a, a farmer was working per folk tales, a farmer struck a boulder while working when blood started exuding out of the cut in the stone. Upon digging further, he discovered the glorious image of the resting Vishnu buried in the ground. Located just below the Shivapuri Hills, the temple attracts a lot of trekkers or weekenders who plan on spending the night in Shivapuri.
A sacred place to both Hindus and Buddhists, Muktinath, as the name itself implies, is a place where liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth can be found. The famous 108 water spouts that are believed to wash away your sins if you bathe in all 108 of them, and the eternal flame that never burns out, Muktinath is a place where people come to find peace and salvation, and holds a lot of importance to all Hindus and Buddhists alike.