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Religion and Culture of Nepal

Religion and cultureThe Himalayan kingdom of Nepal has the richest and most diverse cultural landscape anywhere. Nepal is the holy land of Lord Pashupatinath and Gautam Buddha where the Hindu and Buddhists have lived together in harmony for centuries. It is said about Nepal that every other structure is a holy shrine and every other day a festival. Well, if the number of annual festivals, both religious and national, is any indication, the saying could be true. Festivals are an essential part of Nepalese life that garners tremendous local participation.

The rich cultural tapestry of Nepal is encapsulated in the Kathmandu valley. The three ancient cities of the valley - Patan, Katmandu and Bhaktapur represent the epitome of harmony in urban design, elegant architecture and refined culture. The most happening destination in the world - a heady mixture of unique culture, mind boggling adventure and remarkable natural beauty. In this land where warm hospitality comes naturally, you can easily revitalize your mind, body and soul.

Nepal is one of the most peaceful multi-religious countries in the world. Here we find more than 70 ethnic groups having different cultures and speaking about 70 distinct languages. Officially Nepal is a Hindu country but in practice the religion is a blend of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs with the pantheon of tantric deities in support of both.

Religion and culture Religion and culture Devghat is mentioned in the Varaha Purana as a tourist destination ("Deva-Utta") of Hindu gods and the Sapta-Rishis (great 7 sages). Deaughat is located at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and Trisuli Rivers. It is believed that whoever takes bath at this holy confluence or offers worship will be excused any sins, and ladies will be blessed with beauty and a happy married life. Vashistha's cave and the crevasse of Sita can be seen from Deaughat. It is here, where mother earth is believed to have split open to take Goddess Sita to her bosom. Lord Rama and his brothers were educated here in Vashistha's gurukula.

The exciting Deughat suspension bridge, the mountain, river banks and dense forest here are quite spectacular. 'Shaligrams' (holy ammonite stones) are found only on the banks of Kali Gandaki. If you are lucky you or your children can pick-up one in Deaughat.

For the scientists also, this place is very interesting. A fossil of a giant oceanic tortoise believed to be more than 20 million years old and worshipped as the biggest 'Shaligram' in the world can be seen here. There are also several historical and cultural temples and stupas in the area.

Manakamana Manakamana:
The temple of Mahakamana, a very popular pilgrimage destination in Nepal, is a temple dedicated to one of the manifestations of the Hindu goddess Bhagawati. Bhagawati is believed to have the power to fulfill wishes. The temple lies 125 Km. to the west of Kathmandu. It is a steep three-hour hike from Abu Khairenion on the Kathmandu-Gorkha highway or you can relax and take the cable car to Manakamana.

Lumbini is the birth place of Lord Buddha. It is situated 230 Km. away from Kathamandu in the Rupandhi district in the southern Terai (lowland), at an altitude of 600ft above sea level. Lumbini, respected by all Buddhists is a world heritage site recognized by UNESCO.

Dhanushadham, a historical and religious site, dates back to the time of the great epic-Ramayana. It is located 18 km north-east of Janakpur in the south-central region of Nepal. Dhanushadham was the place where Lord Rama (the hero of the epic Ramayana) had broken Shiva's divine bow, a condition for winning the hand of Sita in marriage. According to the epic, one of the three pieces of the bow fell in the present day Dhanushadham.

Muktinaath Muktinath is of religious importance to both Hindus and Buddhists. The main shrine of Muktinath is a pagoda-shaped temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. In the walls around it are 108 water spouts. The Jwala Mai temple nearby has a spring and an eternal flame fed by natural gas. Muktinath is set in an altitude of 3,800 meters in the north-central part of Nepal. It is a six-hour walk from Jomsom airport.

One of the most famous pilgrimage destinations of Nepal is Gosaikunda. A lake which is situated at an altitude of 4,360m. The best approach to Gosaikunda is through Dhunche, 132km to the northeast of Kathmandu. Dhunche is linked with Kathmandu by an all weather motorable road. Surrounded by high mountains to the north and south, the lake is grand and picturesque. There are also another nine famous lakes in the area.

Goshai Kunda

Janakapur - the land of Goddess Sita and Mithila Art:
Janakpur Janakapur is a great religious place, famous as the birth place of Goddess Sita. A palatial temple popularly called Naulakha Mandir was built by an Indian queen on the very spot where a golden image of Sita was discovered in 1657 AD. This temple complex is the main hub of the city. The Vibaha Mandap a huge marriage pavilion and beautiful temple is another attraction. It is marble paved and with great marble statues. It is believed that the marriage of Rama and Janaki (Sita) had been solemnized at this spot.

The colorful and unique Mithila art is another attraction which brings many overseas tourists to see the woman artists at work. Janakpur is a very beautiful area. There are many historical and cultural temples in the area where numerous festivals and events are celebrated.

Gorkha is the birth place of King Prithvi Narayan Shaha the Great founder of modern Nepal. and also Gorkha was the name given to the fearsome soldiers hailing from this area. Situated on a hill overlooking the snowy peaks of the Himalaya is a beautiful old palace known as Gorkha Durbar. Gorkha durbar, a fort palace and temple complex, is the centre point and highlight of visit to Gorkha. There are two attractive temples of Gorakhanth and Kali inside the palace precincts.

Situated at an altitude of 1,343m. Tansen is the most popular summer resort in western Nepal on account of its position and climate. It has the most extensive views of the country’s chief attraction, the Himalaya. Prior to the unification of Nepal under the Shahas, Tansen was the capital of the Palpa Kingdom, and was ruled by the Sen Dynasty.