Pashupatinath temple is the one of the biggest Hindu temple of Lord Shiva in the world located on the banks of the Bagmati river in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The temple served as the seat of national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, until Nepal was secularized. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list .
Believers in Pashupatinath (mainly Hindus) are allowed to enter the temple premises. Non-Hindu visitors are allowed to have a look at the temple from the other bank of Bagmati river.
It is regarded as the most sacred among the temples of Lord Shiva (Pashupati)
Muktinath : This Sanskrit name itself has religious overtone and a sort of emotional ring to it for the devout Hindus. The name is synthesis of two words - Mukti and Nath. Mukti means Salvation or Nirvana and Nath mean god or Master. Mukti Holds grate significance for all spiritual people in the south Asian sub continent. Muktinath (the provider of salvation) has been one such holy site, where thousands of devotees flock for attaining the much sought after moksha (Freedom) from the cycle of
birth and rebirth. It is an ardent wish or a dream if you may say, of every Hindu to get Mukti-Nirvana from this cycle taking births over and over again. It is belief of the Hindus that this world is "MAYA" (an illusion) and the earliest one gets out of it the better and a visit to Muktinath will help them achieve that goal. Since then it called Muktinath.Muktinath is an important pilgrimage place for both Hindu & Buddhist. The holy shrine at Muktinath is in a grove of trees and includes a Buddhist Gompa and the pagoda style temple of Vishnu Temple, Containing an Image of Vishnu.It is believed that one should visit this temple after completing pilgrimage of four special religious sites, Chardham Yatra of India; Muktinath must be visited once The Hindus call it Muktichhetra (Place of salvation) is one of the four religious sites. Many Shaligrams (Ammonite) found here are considered by Hindu as incarnation of lord Vishnu and worship them. According to Hindu Myth lord Vishnu turned into Shaligram because of Brinda’s Curse.Similarly Buddhist calls this valley the Chumig Gyatsa (place of 108 waterspouts). It is believed that Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambha) the scholar founder of Tibetan Buddhism once meditated and gained lifetime achievement of spiritual knowledge here while on his way to Tibet on 12th century. The valley has seven historic village: Putak, Jhong, Chhyonkhar, Purang, Jharkot and khinga. Ranipauwa (lit.queen's pilgrim hostel, named after queen Subarna Prabha Devi) is a new settlement founded by people of Purang. The main ethnic group of the valley is Bhotias
This place is opened through out the year but especially in Rishitarpani, Ram Nawami, and Bijay Dashami thousands of pilgrims gather here to celebrate the festival.
Muktinath TempleThe Pagoda style Muktinath Temple is symbol of the religious symbiosis between both Hindus and Buddhists. Hindu believes that lord Vishnu got salvation from curse of Brinda (wife of Jalandhar) here. Therefore he is worshipped as Muktinath (Lit. the lord of salvation). Hindu regards Muktinath as Vishnu The main shrine of Muktinath is a pagoda - shaped temple dedicated to the Lord Vishnu.On the other hand where as Buddhists regard as Buddha. Buddhist worships Vishnu as Avalokiteshvara. The Temple depicts metal statues of lord Vishnu, goddess Laxmi, Saraswoti, Janaki, Garuda, Lava-Kush and Sapta Rishis.The building in 1815 of the Buddhist-Hindu temple of Vishnu and Chenrezig at Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa was initiated by the Nepali Queen Subarna Prabha who considered Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa Salagrama.The temple and the religious shrine of Muktinath are about 90m in elevation above Ranipauwa.The famous temple of Lord Muktinath situated at base of Khatang Kang(Thorang Peak) in Baraha Gaun (lit. Twelve village) in the district of Mustang in the north central part of Nepal,and it is about 110 Km from Pokhara and 20 kms northeast of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3800 meters from the sea level. It is a gate way to Mustang from Manang in famous Annapurana circuit Trek route. Named after highly referred Muktinath shrine the valley is one of religious place in Nepal for both Hindus and Buddhist. The Buddhist nuns take care of cultural heritage inside Muktinath temple. Photography and filming of deities inside Temple and Monasteries is strictly prohibited.The holy shrine, which is said to have risen on its own, is one of eight such shrines (the others include Srirangam, Sri Mushnam, Tirupati, Naimisaranyam, Thottadri, Pushkaram and Badrinath). It is also one of 108 Vaishnava shrines.Here in the early 19th century the Hindus consecrated a Vishnu temple and named is Muktinath - Lord of Liberation. Against a backdrop of incredible starkness you can sit and stare to the south the snow covered Annapurna range, or to the north the Tibetan plateau.
Attraction of Muktinath Kunda: In front of MuktinathTemple there are 2 Kunda (Water pond), Where holy dip is believed it can wash away negative karma, the results of one's past negative actions.
Mukti Dhara: Around the temple is a wall from the temple which there are 108 waterspouts (Dhara) name of “Muktidhara”. The 108 faucets in the cast in the shape of bulls' heads, pour fourth-sacred water closely arranged in a semi-circle with a gap of hardly a foot between the faucets, at a height of seven feet. The water from Gandaki River continuously flowing through the mouth of the bull. Pilgrims who visit the temple take a holy bath in each of these spouts. But as the water is ice cold it requires burning desire and courage to take a holy bath here. Hindu devotees take bath under chilled water of 108 waterspouts “Muktidhara” believing that it brings them salvation. It is also believed that the deity was originated from Jumla,far western part of Nepal. It has helped to make this area as center of Tourist attraction. In Janai Purnima Buddhist’s Yar tang Mala celebrated here.
Jwala Mai Temple: Even more sacred is the water that issues from rock inside the ancient Tibetan style “Jwala Mai Temple” sound of flowing river is situated south and a short distance below the of Muktinath Temple. Inside this Gompa, behind a tattered curtain, are small natural gas jest that produce Continuously burning flame, the Jwala Mai temple has a spring and there are three eternal flames “Holy flame from soil”, “Holy flame from rock” and “Holy flame from water” fed by natural gas.
Currently two flames are continuously burning. The Hindu believes that this miracle of fire lighting was offering made by Brahma himself , (the creator of universe) set water on fire. Hindus worship the fire as Jwala Mai (Lit. Goddess of fire). The Buddhist believe that Padmasambhav, the great Indian master who inducted Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet, meditated at this place. The Buddhist living will show foot prints which they say are those of the great master. They called it Dhola
The holy flame alongside a spring that is the source of the religious importance of Muktinath. It is often possible to see Tibetan woman with elaborate turquoise embedded headdresses, engaged in devotion at these shrine.
Mharme Lha Khang Gompa: After completing prayer and puja at the temple a visit to Mharme Lha Khang Gomba is situated to the North of Muktinath Temple. Mharme Lha Khang is translates as thousand holy lamps. As this monastery dedicated to Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) with his huge clay image is placed center of altar along with bon deities: red Trakpo at right side and blue singe Doma at left side. Since Singe doma is lion headed deity, Hindu worships as Narasimha and name of monastry Narsingh Gompa.Gomba Samba, a "newly built monastery". It is believed that founder of this monastery Syandol Lama came from Tibet. Originally this monastery was a big hostel for monks that later collapsed and people of Khinga and Jharkot jointly reconstructed it. The main deities monastries are Sakyamuni, Chingresig and Guru Rimpoche. The monastery is situated at left
from entrance gate of Muktinath temple complex, would be worth it.Swaminarayan: One Hindu Guru connected to Muktinath is Lord Shri Swaminarayan, Satguru of Sabij Yoga, the goal of which is the realization of and service to God Supreme. At the end of the 18th century this Satguru practiced severe penance in Muktinath for two and a half months and attained the highest degree of proficiency in Nishkamvrat. In 2003 his followers funded the new wall around Muktinath and raised a small monument for him at Muktinath.
Shaligram: Another attraction for the pilgrimage is the River kali Gandaki from where one can collect fossils of the Jurassic park age. One may find a fossil within a few minutes or it may take hours and without success. However, these fossils can be had from the local people at a price. Shaligram, a black stone fossil if found, is considered sacred and is kept in pooja (prayer) room in the house. It is supposed to be symbol of Lord Vishnu.
The Muktinath valley has seven historic famous places Putak, Jhong, Chhyokhar, Purang Jharkot and Khinga. Ranipauwa (Lit.Queen pilgrims hostel the name of Subarna Prabha Devi) is new settlement village founded by people of Purang. There are many monasteries and Gompa around the Muktinath temple.Once Pilgrimage journey made to this holy Muktinath, holy dip in the Kunda and bath beneath of 108 waterspouts “Muktidhara” is believed to bring about salvation (Moksha) and to fulfill your wishes.We welcome you to visit the highly religious place of Muktinath, where you will enjoy and discover you are on your special journey.
General Information How to go there:
Only those who are willing to undergo physical discomfort and rigour can go to Muktinath. Above all, one should have the Grace of the Lord to visit Muktinath. The convenient routes to Muktinath from India are: via Gorakhpur, Sonauli, Bhairawa and Pokhara, the last big town on the way to Muktinath; via Raxaul, Birgunj and Pokhara or via Darjeeling, Siliguri, Kakar Bhitta and Pokhara.
There are many ways to reach Muktinath. Either take a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom or hike for 7-8 hours from Jomsom or trek all the way from Pokhara through Kali-Gandaki valley, which takes 7/8 days. There has a trekking route one of famous treks name of Muktinath.
Nowadays the Bus & Jeep Services are available from Pokhara via Beni, Then Beni to Ghasa, via Tato pani, to Jomsom there Jeep services which take time 12-15 hrs. From Jomsom to Muktinath it takes 1.30 hrs by Jeep. After Beni to Jomsom the road is graveled through the Kaligandaki river bank. and Jomsom to Muktinath road is graveled through the Kaligandaki river bank & Hill area.
Helicopter services are also available from Pokhara & Kathmandu. The sight of the bewildering Annapurana and Dhaulagiri ranges will enchant you as you approach towards Pokhara Valley by air or surface. The next morning when you discover the clear sky and views of mountain, you then discover you are on your special journey to the MuktinathApart from walking to Muktinath all the way, there are many ways one can travel, depending on time and budget.
Mt. Kailash Yatra
Mount. Kailash (6714m), the farmed holy peak in west of Tibet. Mt. Kailsh has long been an object of worship for four major religious. For Hindu, it is the domain of Shiva. It is also the abode of Samvara-a multiarmed, wrathful deity worshipped in the chakrasamvara Tantric cycle of Tibetan Buddhism. The Jains of Indiaalso revere the mountain as the site at which the first of their saints emancipated. And in the ancient Bon religion of Tibet, Kailash was the sacred nine storeys Swatika Mountain, upon which the Bonpo founder shenrab alighted from haven. The 53 km Kailash circuit is the holiest of all Hindu as well as Buddhist pilgrimages and the beacon, which draws most travelers to western Tibet. It is said that a single Parikrama erases the accumulated sins of a lifetime, while 108 cicurmbulation will achieve Salvation.
Lake Manasarover - Sprawling below Mount Kailash is the sacred Lake Manasarover (4580m), where ritual bath will deliver a pilgrim to bream’s paradise and drink of its water relinquishes the sins of a hundred lifetimes.
Lumbini is located in the south-central Terai of Nepal, situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. For millions of Buddhists the world over, it evokes a kind of holy sentiment akin to the significance of Jerusalem to Christians and Mecca to Muslims. Lumbini is the place where Lord Buddha - the apostle of peace, and the Light of Asia - was born in 623 B.C. In historical terms, the region is an exquisite treasure-trove of ancient ruins and antiquities, dating back to the pre-Christian era. The site (Lumbini Grove) was described as a beautiful garden in the Buddha's time and still retains its legendary charm and beauty. Both the Shakyas and Kolias Clans owned the garden and its tranquil environs at the time of Lord Buddha's birth. King Suddhodana, father of Buddha was of the Shakya Dynasty belonging to the Kshatriya or Warrior Caste.
For centuries, Buddhists the world over knew that the general area of Lumbini was where the Lord was born. In the words of those famous Chinese pilgrims of antiquity, Huian Tsang and Faeihan, 'Lumbini -where the Lord was born - is a piece of Heaven on Earth, where one could see the snowy mountains amidst a splendid garden, embedded with stupas and monasteries!' However, the exact location remained uncertain and obscure until 1 December 1886 when a wandering German archaeologist Dr. Alois A. Fuhrer came across a stone pillar and ascertained beyond doubt it was indeed the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Since that day it has become a focal point for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
Lumbini is the fourth largest tourist destination in Nepal. Nearly 20,000 tourists visit the area every year (Source: Nepal Tourism Board). Recently, UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. It has great potential to grow as the major tourist destination in years to come.
The significance of Lumbini
Many of the places that were of importance to the Lord Buddha during his life retain a potent significance to Buddhists of today. Unsurprisingly, nowhere has a greater significance than the site of his birth. In the words of Buddha himself: "O-Bhikshus', after my death when people and members of a new generation come and ask you, then tell them that here the Buddha was born, here he attained the full enlightenment, here he turned the wheel of Dharma twelve times, and here finally the Buddha entered into Parinirvana". Hundreds of years have gone by, but the architectural splendours of that era are still standing and serve as a vivid reminder of the origins of Buddhist philosophy and doctrines. As a complement to the temples and shrines, our aim is to create a living environment in which Buddha would have felt at home during his life.
Monuments of Lumbini
Lumbini changed into a religious site soon after the Mahaprinirvana of Lord Buddha. A monastic site evolved around the sacred spot of Buddha's birth. The birth-spot being the most holy point in the whole of the holy land of Lumbini drew the attention of generous devotees who erected structures to pay homage to the great Mast. These constrictions were of religious nature. Along the religious complex, a civic settlement also sprang up to meet the growing need of the religious community visiting or living in the holy complex.
The Maya Devi Temple
The Maya Devi Shrine complex is the heart of all monuments at this holy site. The complex also bears the testimony of several layers of construction over the centuries. The main object of worship here is the nativity sculpture. The restored Maya Devi temple was reopened on May 16, 2003 on the 2547th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. Government of Nepal and LDT jointly restored the temple. The ground floor consists of the remains of the foundations of the early Maya Devi Temple that dates back to 3rd century BC. The sanctum sanatorium is the birth spot of the Lord Buddha.
The Marker Stone
This stone conglomerate located deeply buried in the sanctum sanatorium pinpoints the exact location of the birth of Lord Buddha. This was discovered after meticulous excavation of the Maya Devi Temple site in 1996. The exact size of Marker Stone is 70×40×10 cm. This is now covered with a bulletproof glass.
The Nativity Sculpture
The image of Maya Devi, also known as the Nativity sculpture dated back to 4th century AD, depicts Maya Devi, holding the branch of a tree with her right hand for support. Next to her Gautami Prajapati, her own sister, in supporting posture in the time of delivery is standing. The newly born prince Siddhartha is standing upright on a lotus pedestal, with two celestial figures receiving him.
The Puskarini or Holy Pond
Close by the Asokan Pillar on the southern side is the holy pond, the Puskarini, believed to be the holy pond in which Maya Devi took bath just before giving birth to the Lord Buddha. It is also the site where the infant prince Siddhartha was given his first purification bath. The pond has terraced steps and is riveted by beautifully layered bricks.
The Asokan Pillar
The Asokan Pillar bears the first epigraphic evidence relating to the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It is the most noteworthy monument and an authentic historic document of birthplace of Lord Buddha in Lumbini. The inscription engraved by Emperor Ashoka is still intact and testifies the authenticity of the birthplace. The text written in Brahmi script and pali language is translated as follows:
Lumbini Village Tour
A walk through the villages surrounding Lumbini, interaction with the warm and hospitable local people, buying their authentic handicraft products and observing their traditional rituals will bring one closer to understanding the diversity of Terai cultures in Nepal. Tour of villages also gives opportunity to observe Terai landscapes and vegetation found in the outskirts of the settlements. The people in these traditional villages offer a peek at their agro-based rural lifestyle, colorful costume, festivals which they celebrate with much joy and enthusiasm and gracious hospitality. They belong to different religions, cast and creed, with agriculture as main occupation. The main festivals celebrated by the people are Nagpanchami, Holi, Dasain and Tihar. Tourists can visit the local temples and mosques or partake in the cultural ceremonies. The wetland areas, lakes and ponds in the villages also offer bird watching opportunities. Visitors have the option of choosing to walk through the villages, or riding through on local rikshaw or bullock cart.
Ekala offers cultural sightseeing in the village and bird watching at Lake Karbolaha that has a crane sanctuary nearby. Visitors can also visit religious sites of Shiva Mandir, Kalimaisthan and and the local mosque. They live in traditional stone or tent-houses. The main ethnic groups found here are Yadav, Harijan, Chamar, Gupta and the Muslims. The languages spoken are Bhojpuri and Nepali.
Khudabagar offers cultural sightseeing in the village and bird watching at Punnihawa Lake which is a wetland area. The main groups living here are Tharu, Yadav, Lodh, Harizan, Kurmi, Gupta and Muslims. Tourists can also visit the recently set up Tharu museum.
Tenuhawa offers peek at the Muslim culture and bird watching at crane sanctuary near Karbolaha Lake toward the north-west of the village. Here you can observe women working at indigenous crafts making colorful baskets, handicraft items that are also available on sale at different sales outlets. One can also pay visit to the mosque in the village.
Lumbini Adarsha has archeological sites that date back to the 4th and 5th century. Visitors can also visit the Shiva shrines and observe customary traditional costumes, the local agro-based lifestyle. Lumbini Adarsha leads to the ancient villages of Padariya, Manauri and Khungai. The people living here are mostly Yadav, Mallah, Shreevastav, Kohar, Murau, Muslim and Goshami.
Madhuvani also offers sightseeing of rural Terai life and bird watching at Haththihawa and Tharunia lakes. Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges in the north can also be seen during clear winter mornings. In addition one can also visit temples of Durga, Shiva, Kalikasthan and Samaimaisthan, in the village. Tharu, Yadav, Harijan, Brahmin, Chhetri and Muslim are the main groups found here. Local handicrafts are available at sales center and hotels. Biraha culture is the main cultural attraction here.
Goshain kunda is the most holy pilgrimage sites lies in the 4300m above sea level. that includes a large glacial lake.The hindu faithful comes to worship the numerous shrines of Lord Shiva in the area. It is believed that there are more then 108 different lakes which represents every different names of Hindu God Shiva. Such as Gosainkunda, Surya kunda, Rudra Kunda aresome names of Shiva. Kund derieved from Nepali word means: lake. Trekkers can be seen around 10 different lakes in one day during their journey on the Suryakunda pass such as Saraswati Kund, Bhairab Kund, Surya Kund and Goshaikund, Rudra kunda, Nag Kunda are the famous one.The large rock in the centre of the kunda is said to be the remains of a shrine of Lord Shiva and is beleived that a channel carries water from the lake to the tank at the kumbeshwar temple in Patan. The trek goes through sarswati kund bhairab kunda Gosainkund and many more. Great view of Langtang Lirung (7245m),Ganesh Himal (7146m) and Dorze Lakpa (6990m) peaks are reward for the trekkers.