In Nepal, religion is the lifeline of Nepali people. All the cultural activities such as feast and festivals, daily rituals, family celebrations, and religious observances are part of religion. Nepal is popular as the center of the eastern school of thought from the very beginning. Everywhere in Nepal, in a single step, one can see temples and Shrines, monasteries and Viharas, processions and religious music, and enjoying people. That’s why Nepal is called the country of temple and Kathmandu is known as the city of the temple. It’s said that we have more temples than houses in Kathmandu. At the thought, Nepal has declared a secular state in 2008 but it is still as popular as the Hindu state for tourists in terms of religion. Religious syncretism is the major component of Nepali society where Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and Hindus respect each other religion and living together in peace and harmonious environment.
Kathmandu is also said we have more temples than houses. We have many religious sites in Nepal. Pashupatinath temple, which is the world’s main Hindu religious site is located in Kathmandu. Other Hindu pilgrimage sites are Swargadwari, Gosainkunda, Devghat, Manakamana temple, Gorakhnath, Pathibhara, Mahamrityunjaya Shivasan, Badimalika, Janaki Temple, and many more.
Dang valley is also a sacred place for Hindus as well as other religions. Kalika and Malika Devi in Chhillikot hill, Ambekeshawari temple, Krishna temple, Dharapani temple, etc. are sacred places in the dang district. Chillikot hill is also a good place for sightseeing and also an ancient place of a king. Muktinath is a sacred place for Hindus as well as Buddhists. The site is located in Muktinath Valley in the Mustang district. There many more religious sites all over Nepal.
Nepal is a multi-religious society. The major religion in Nepal is Hinduism. The Composition of Nepal society in terms of religion is as follows:
Hindu Religious Sites:
Four Narayans (Charnarayan):
Four Narayan’s Charnarayan (Bisankhu, Changu, Ichangu, and Sesh) is one of the major religious tourism destinations within Kathmandu valley. The four Narayan Temples are located at Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur districts. There is an interrelation between these Narayan temples as in the month of November devotees generally visit all four Narayan temples and completes their ritual practice on the day of Haribodhini Ekadasi.
Dolakha Bhimsen Temple:
The famous Bhimeshwor temple is located in the Dolakha Bazaar of the Dolakha district. God Bhimsen got the main statue in this temple. Bhim is considered as the second prince of panch Pandav (Mahabharat) and notably worshipped by the traders or Merchandizers as their will god. In Dolakha under the roofless temple regards this idol as Bhim sen but it has three reincarnations as Bhimsen, Goddess Bhagawati, and God Shiva. Animals sacrificed in this temple for Goddess Bhagawati whereas never sacrificed the blood to Lord Shiva. But in this temple three God is worshipped differently thrice a day.
Fairs are held at this temple on such occasions as Bala Chaturdashi, Ram Navami, Chaitra Ashtami, and Bhima Ekadashi. During the festival. The animal sacrificed here. Approximately 200 meters from the Bhimeshwar temple is the temple of Tripura Sundari where devotees assemble during the festivals of Chaitrastami and Dashain. Only the priest of this temple is allowed a glimpse of the image enshrined within.
The legend related that long, long years ago there were 12 porters coming from elsewhere who stopped at this spot and they tried themselves to make three stone stoves to cook rice. After some time, one part of the rice had already cooked but the other part remains uncooked. When the porter shifted the cooked rice to the other part became uncooked again because it came in contact with the triangular-shaped black stone. One of the porters became angry and he stubs the stone with “Paneu” (laddle, the milk coated blood came out. Later they realized that the stone is God Bhim and started worship the stone.
Still miraculous has been happening on Dolakha Bhimsen temple. There are many examples considering this miracle. It was sweated during the movement of 1980, 1990 before Royal macassared, before the earthquake of 2015etc. When there was sweating there will be some big events in the country i.e any political changes, misfortunes. It can be said that the sweating of Bhimsen is the pre-warning or forecasts of misfortune.
According to the Bhineshowar Shivapuran, there was a Kingdom of Bhima that was blessed by god Brahma. The people, who lived in the Bhima’s kingdom, had lived sorrowful life; they pray to god Shiva to save their life. Lord Shiva came from Gaurishanker Mountains and killed king Bhim. After the death of Bhim, a statue of Bhimeshowar was established at that spot and was named Bhimeshowar.
Swargadwari is a hilltop temple complex and pilgrimage site in the Pyuthan district. It is one of the popular Hindu religious places. It is located in the southern part of the Pyuthan district. Cows are worshipped as Goddesses in Hinduism. It is said to have been founded by Guru Maharaj Narayan Khatri (Swami Hamsananda) who spent most of his life in the vicinity herding and milking thousands of cows. According to traditional stories, some of his devotees followed him to see where he took the cows, but they never could find him.
According to older people of the locality, he came from Rolpa to the present temple site and asked the landlord to donate the land to him. He dug the land and obtained curd mixed rice and fire. He had explained that these things were those buried by Pandavas in Dwapar Yuga When they worshipped in this place before departing to heaven. The landlord was astonished. He agreed to hand over the land instantly. Thereafter the holy fire is burning continuously till then. Bivat (ash) of the firewood burnt by the holy fire is believed to cure different physical disorders like headaches, stomachaches, etc.
Before he left the physical body the guru gave some of his powers to a few disciples. On the day he departed his physical body by his own wish, a number of people gathered around him at the place where he habitually meditated. The Guru left his body after bidding goodbye to his disciples and other followers. His favorite cow also died at the same instant, and then the rest of the cows miraculously disappeared within a few days.
There is also an account of the cows emptying their milk by themselves every day at the same time, at the place where the Guru died. He had done many miracles during his lifetime. Once he asked Rolpali cowherds not to take the cattle’s in a particular area for grazing warning them of landslides in that area. But they refused and were swept by the landslide. He used to tell the fortune of the devotees. He was so much helped the poor to build their house.
He managed to teach Vedic scriptures and other religious scriptures to the children. They may perform Vedic worshipping in the temple after study. But, doing this is not a compulsion after study. Swargadwari is counted among Nepal’s top pilgrimage sites and is listed in a national inventory of cultural and historic heritage sites.
Pathivara Temple is one of the most Significant temples of Nepal, Located on the hill of Taplejung. It is also considered one of the holy places of Hindu People. Worshipers from different parts of Nepal and India rush to the temple during special occasions. It is believed that a Pilgrimage to the temple ensures the fulfillment of the pilgrims’ wishes.
The temple is located 19.4 North East from the Phungling municipality at an elevation of 3,794 m (12,444 ft) It serves as the second route of the Kanchenjunga trek. The Pilgrims offer animal sacrifices, gold, and silver to please the goddess. The Goddess Pathuvara is believed to possess supernatural power and diligently answer devotee’s prayers. She is considered by her devotees as a manifestation of the divine feminine also determined with other names as Adhikari, Maha Maya, Maha Rudra among many other of her divine forms.
Legends say that local shepherds lost hundreds of their sheep while grazing at the same place where the temple stands today. The distressed shepherds had a dream in which the Goddess ordered them to carry out ritualistically sacrificed sheep and build a shrine in her honor. When the sacrifice was offered the lost herd supposedly returned. The ritual of offering sacrifices inside the temple is believed to have started after the incident.
Janaki Temple in Janakpur:
Janaki Mandir, known as the Nau Lakha Mandir, is one of the most important Hindu Pilgrimage destinations situated at Janakpur which is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Sita. The cost for the construction of the temple was nine lakhs or nine hundred thousand; hence it was named Nau Lakha Mandir. According to Ramayan, Kujg Janak, ruler of Videha ( Janakpur), During the Ramayana period, married her daughter Sita to the prince of Ayodhya Ram. Janaki or Sita, during her Swyambar (engagement), has chosen Lord Rama as her husband. Their marriage ceremony had occurred in the nearby temple which is called Vivaha Mandap.
The exact date of its construction is not known but it is said that the temple was constructed before the 16th century which is found in the literature. Queen Vrisha Bhanu of Tikamgarh, India build the temple in 1911 AD in today’s form. It is constructed in areas of 4,860 SQ feet in a mixed style of Mughal and Hindu architecture. The temple is 50 meters in height. It is a three-storied structure made entirely of stone and marble. All its 60 rooms are decorated with the flag of Nepal, colored glass, engravings, and Mithila paintings, with beautiful lattice windows and turrets.
In 1657, a golden statue of the Goddess Sita was found at the very spot, and Sita is said to have lived there. The legend said that it was built on the holy site where Sannyasi Shurkishordas was the founder of modern Janakpur and the great saint of the poet who preached about the site Upasana (also called Sita Upanishad) Philosophy. Legends have claimed that King Janak (seeradhwaj) performed the worship of Shiva-Dhanush on its site.
Budkanilkantha Temple (Sleeping Vishnu):
Budhanilkantha temple,( Sleeping Vishnu) also known as the Narayansthan temple, is situated below the Shivapuri Hill at the northern end of the Kathmandu valley, in Budhanilkantha Municipality, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple’s main statue of sleeping Vishnu is considered the largest stone carving of the Licchavi period.
The temple is also named Buddha- Budhanilkantha. If we look at the statue of sleeping Vishnu, we can see the forehead of Buddha. Thus it is regarded as the combination of Hinduism and Buddhism in one statue naming Buddha- Budhanilkantha. Buddha denotes Lord Shiva. So, it is the combination of Shaivism and Vaishnavism as well as Buddhism which donates religious Syncretism of the Licchavi period.