Direct Cash Advance Lenders Direct Cash Advance Lenders

Pilgrimage Sites

Nepal Travel Attractions

Nepal has several ancient pilgrimage sites. Given that each temple, is attached to some legend or belief that glorifies the miraculous powers of its dedicated deity. It is no wonder why Nepal is not short on it’s list of religious and spiritual “go-to” destinations. Kathmandu alone for example, is home to the famous Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhu Stupa and several other Buddhist, Hindu, and blends of different religious worshiping sites. Numbering in the hundreds, there are countless famous temples located in and around the Kathmandu Valley alone. Those however, are only a drop in a bucket, when compared to the pilgrimage sites of Nepal as a whole.

Some Popular Pilgrimage Sites:

Eastern NepalBaraha Chhetra which is considered one of the four greatest Hindu pilgrimage sites found in Nepal, Halesi Mahadev, Janakpur which becomes alive during different festivals throughout the year, Pathibhara and Tengboche which is in the Sagarmatha Region and is famous for a number of things One reason people travel to the Thengboche gompa is that it is said to hold the scalp and hand of a Yeti (10-12 foot tall abominal snowman with white hair covering his face and most of his body). The Thengboche monastery is probably the most famous in the region. It was recenty destroyed by a fire but had quick reactions to re-build. From the monastery anyone who can travel here is blessed with magnificent views of Mt. Everest flanked by Lhotse and Nuptse. During the Mani Rimdu festival many pilgrims are found gathering here to celebrate.

Central NepalManakamana, Gorkha the hometown of the famous Gurkha soldiers, Lumbini birthplace of Lord Buddha, Muktinath, Gosainkunda in Langtang National Park, Tansen which has a temple dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati who is ferocious and loves blood sacrifices. Tansen is also a good travel destination to be combine with a visit to Lumbini or Chitwan National Park, and of course there are the many sacred pilgrimage sites of the Kathmandu Valley.

Western Nepal – Swargadwari & Khaptad Ashram.

Something worth noting, is that Pashupatinath, dedicated to Lord Shiva and the holiest Hindu destination in Nepal, Swayambhunath believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago, and Boudhanath besides being pilgrimage sites, are also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other pilgrimage sites with the honorable UNESCO title are Lumbini the birthplace of Lord Buddha, Temple of Changu Narayan in the Kathmandu Valley which has the oldest recorded inscription of Nepal dating back to the year 464.

Find out more about UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites of Nepal.

Travel to Nepal and you can also find the Gateway to Tibet’s Kailash Mansarovar, the mythical abode of Lord Shiva, yet another famous pilgrimage site. Devotees from various parts of Nepal and India throng to these temples and sacred destinations during special festivals.

Pilgrimage sites of Nepal like Muktinath and Gosainkunda make popular trekking destinations. Trips to these sites are encouraged for the novelty they provide in terms of both nature, culture and adventure.

Muktinath, is a sacred temple nestled in the Northern Himalaya, along the Annapurna Conservation trek route, Muktinath is both a town and a very beautiful sacred temple. It i known for its mysterious three continuous flames burning under water. Sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus it is a destination for devotees from each religion to travel to this site at least once in their lifetime at its elevation near 4000 meters. As close as a days journey from Jomsom, the administrative center of the Mustang District, a visit to Muktinathis on many a tourists and pilgrims itineraries.

Gosainkunda glacial lakes in Langtang National Park, is a destination for those wanting to attend the shaman ceremonies held there during the Janai Purnima festival around mid August when worshipers of Lord Shiva gather at the lake to imitate and follow his tracks by bathing in the sacred lake. The lake is also said to be connected via an underground channel to the Krishna Temple in the city of Patan within the Kathmandu Valley. If you plan to travel here, plan for long a long trek from the border of the Kathmandu Valley near the Shivapuri National Parkor a windy ride in a vehicle to Dumche followed by a two day walk. You can also travel by foot for about 5 days and then make a loop by returning via vehicle.

Other Pilgrimage Sites:

The temple of Dolakha Bhimsen was built for the worship of Bhimeshwar who is considered to be the supreme Lord according to the Dolakha community. The temple is roofless and it houses a Shiva Linga over a holy pond. Some of the festivals that drives great crowds to travel here are Ram Navami, Chaitra-Astami and especially Dashain.

Sitting at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and the Trisuli Rivers is the Devghat pilgrimage site. It is just north of the Chitwan National Park and has many small sites to visit in the area. Hindu devotees bath in the holy waters and have and especially large crowd during the Makar Sankrati festival in January.

One of the most important religious sites in the Sindhuli District is the Kamala Maisthan. It sits at the confluence of the Kamala and Gwang streams. Of course the water is an important place for cleansing bathes for worshipers and it is connected by drivable road from Janakpur. Thousands of worshipers gather here on the first day of the month of Magh (Jan/Feb) and offer sacrifices to their Gods and sing and dance throughout the night.

Also near Janakpur is Dhanusha which is derived from the Great Dhanu or bow. The legend of Lord Ram and his wife Sita and the reason for the Bibaha Pachami fetival celebrated in Janakpur is because of a bow that was said to fall on this spot. Sita’s father wanted to test the strength of any possible suitor for his daughter so anyone that wanted to marry her would have to string this bow. No one could even lift it but when Ram came to try his luck it shattered into pieces falling here, in Dhanusha.

The temple of Jaleshwar Mahadev is in the city of Jaleswar which is the headquarters of the Jankapur region. The myth of the temple goes like this: Jagadish, a hermit, was dreaming in the Jaleshwar forest when he was told to make excavations on the spot. After waking from his dream he started to dig and eventually found an image of Jaleshwar Mahadev. He then built this temple to honor him. During the Bibaha Pachami and Ram Navami festivals, travelers can find thousands of devotees surrounding the ponds that sit in front of the temple.

The pond of Mai Pokhari is a short 13 kilometer travel distance north of Ilam Bazaar and is one of nine in the area. The circumference of this particular pond is over 1 kilometer. Every year a grand one-night festival is held called Harisyani Ekadasi. Many of the other ponds are covered with a layer of moss so thick that you could practically walk across it. As for Mai Pokhari, the local worshipers are convinced that it is constantly moving every year.

Swargadwari is worshiped because of its legend. Ancient sages used to do penance on this spot and it is said that Padma Giri and old hermit achieved enlightenment here through continuous penance and was well known to do good things for the local community. When the sage passed away he was buried at this spot but not after he built a holy pond at Swargadwari and started an eternal fire in it.

In the district of Rolpa lies the Parbat Dhuri (meaning mountain top) and the Jaljaldhuri place of worship. There are three temples -Baju, Varah, and Kaile Varah – which were all said to be built because of one event. Two young Magar boys would always go hunting together and one night they each had a dream in which the Gods Varah and Baju told them to shoot their arrows in the direction in which the rain, wind, and clouds move. They did as the dream said and their arrows killed two large snakes and at the same time the direction of the Jhyrabi River changed its course. From then on the Gods and the daughter of the Satsalle God were able to live there peacefully. Baju and Varah are the guardian dieties of the Magar in Rolpa. (To read more about the Magar community see our ethnic groups page.)

For more related article on Nepal Travel please visit the Nepal Travel Articles Section.

Click to see our programs or plan your custom trip.