Halesi Mahadev Temple – The Most Famous Hindu Religious Site in Nepal

Halesi Mahadev Temple :- The Halesi Mahadevasthan of Khotang is known as The Pashupatinath of eastern Nepal. Halesi is about 222 km from Kathmandu. The cave can be reached via BP Highway through the central hill highway.

After the motorwel bridge construction over the Sunkoshi and Dudhkosi rivers, the journey has been smooth. The then king Girvanayuddha Bir Bikram Shah gave the copper plate in the name of Mahant Manohar Giri in1861 B. S. The history of initiating worship in Halesi Mahadevathan then begun.

The cave attracts first-timers comers. The cave is 60 meters below the entrance to the depths. Numerous bells have been halted at the entrance to the temple. The caves include Halesi Mahadev Cave, Basaha Than Cave, Bhairav ​​Than Cave, Manjushree Cave.

Halesi is known as the confluence of Kirat religion, Buddhism and Hinduism. In the cave, all three religions worship in the same manner. School teachers and students from distant places do not miss out on educational trips to Halesi Mahadev Temple. Near the temple is a monastery of Buddhists located. 

Basaha cave is known as the for varieties of species of bats.

The Mahadev Cave has a sin gateway and a virtue gateway. It is believed that by entering through this gateway, one will obtain salvation from all the sins he has done in his life.

The temple is located 37 km north of Diktel. An unmarried or virgin boy, a descendant of Mahant Manohar Giri, has been practicing regular rituals in the early hours of the morning and evening.

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Location

It is located in ward no. 7 of Mahadevsthan Halesi Village of Halesi Tuwachung municipality of Diktel, Khotang in the Sagarmatha Zone. It is at an altitude of 4736 ft, above sea level. 

Halesi is located on the evergreen mountains banks, such as Guaranse, Tuwachung Jaizum Malathumki, and Rupakot Danda.

Structure

In Mahadevasthan-4, there is a hillside covered by thick forest. At the top of the cliff is a large rock cave that turns to the sky. This cave is called Halesi Mahadev Cave. The name of the village came from this cave. After entering the cave about 300 feet down, it reaches some flat places, where more than a thousand people can settle.

The inside of the cave is a bit dim, where the natural idols of Mahadev and Ganesh are located. On the south wall, the Parwati Sthan is located where the structure resembling Parwati bringing milk for Ganesh can be seen. It is often believed that worshipping this structure can bless the parents with good offspring.

In the north corner of the cave is the virtue gate and the sin gate. From that door, there is a saying that only the righteous can enter and the unrighteous can not enter.

Apart from this, natural statues of stone of special importance, including the birth gateway, paradise door, karmadwar, statue of thirty-three koti gods, are also inside the cave.

Here lies a rocky cliff. This cliff is called Kailash Parwat. The circumference of this hillside is about one kilometre, and the height is about 200 feet. Another large cave in this hillside is found, which is called Basaha cave.

The legend says that Lord Shiva placed the Basaha(bull the ride of Lord Shiva) in the cave’s mouth. He went to the sky. There is a rock still standing at the mouth of the cave, and it is worshiped as Basaha.

Kailash Parwat from the base rises about 150 feet in the horizontal pier, then rises at a 90-degree angle, like the English letter L to the sky. It has a length of 220 ft. and a vertical face is about 90 feet high. About 8-10 people at once can easily enter the mouth of the cave.

Its womb is about 45 ft wide. Its corners are soldered by water. At one point, the tips resembling the nipples of the cow can be seen on the walls of the cave. From them, the water mixed with limestone drips continuously.

Devotees collect milk calling Dudh Deu Mai. It is said that a drop of milk drip on the hands of only the righteous person. Religious devotees call it the milk of Kamdhenu. Simultaneously, the physicists speculate that the milk offered to Mahadev in the Mahadevsthan is sucked out of it.

The Mahadev cave is located at the mouth of the Basaha cave facing toward the sky. It is on the north side of the Basaha cave. About 70-80 ft. Below, a flat surface can be seen. The Halesi Mahadev Temple is located on this surface. It has been worshiped as Lord Mahadev for ages.

Above the cave’s ceiling are lofty tips, which are believed to be the nipples of Kamdhenu cow. From these tips, continuous white-coloured water drips over the Halesi Mahadev statue.

Parts around the statue are grounded. It may have been made first by bringing clay from the outside. About twenty Rudri and rituals can be performed at the same time here. There are 102 steps made artificially for easy climbing and descending.

There are many shapes on the ceiling and walls of the cave. These shapes are often worshipped as the Mahadev family’s idols, Nandi, Bhringi, and other 33 Koti gods and goddesses.

The Basaha cave also has Nandi, Bhringi, Gaurishankar and Goman snakes along with natural idols. About 30 meters east of Mahadev Cave, there is a fascinating Bhairav ​​cave. The cave also has its significance and specialty.

Genesis

There are various stories and legends regarding the origin of the Halesi Mahadev cave. According to history, the name of Halesi was derived from the name of the kiranti king Holesung.

He used to rule this area before the unification of Nepal. There are several legends regarding the origin of the temple. Take a look at some of the popular legends.

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According to the locals, during Satya Yuga, the temple premise was surrounded by deep forests. And inhabited by many animals such as tigers, lions, deers, bears, etc. In this jungle, locals like Kirantis used to hunt and kill animals.

At that time, no one knew about the cave, which was in a dilapidated state. One day, one of the kiranti hunted a deer, which fall into the cave. He went inside the cave to collect his prize. But when he saw inside the dark cave a bright light, he fainted.

God Shankar gave a vision to the unconscious hunter and had other deities’ origin inside this cave. Seeing this, the hunter warned that no one should commit murder violence in the vicinity of the temple.

According to the ancient religious beliefs, these two caves( Mahadev cave and Basaha cave) are believed to have been dug by Mahadev to escape from the demon Bhasmasur. 

It is said that once Bhasmasur performed a deep penance of Mahadev. And Mahadev happily asked him to ask for anything he likes. So Bhasmasur asked him to give him the blessing that on whom so ever he placed his hand.

That person, no matter whether he is God or demon or human, turns to ashes. Lord Shiva accepted his demand. Bhasmasur to check whether the blessing of God is real or not. He tried to put his hand on Mahadev. Lord Mahadev, in turn, ran away from the demon.

He went to the premises of Halesi. There he dug the ground and placed the Basaha(bull) at the entrance. Basaha flight with Bhasmasur for a long time. Mahadev, in turn, escaped from the cave to another digging. This way, two caves were originated. Lord Vishnu disguised as Mohini(a beautiful woman) to charm Bhasmasur.

After seeing Mohini, Bhasmasur forgets Mahadev and immerses himself in her charm and dance. While dancing, he placed his hand on his head and turned to ashes. Indigenous people refer to the black rock in the village of Chyasmi today as a scorching bone of Bhasmasur.

Another legend comes from Sri Swasthani’s story of Hinduism. One day, Daksha Prajapati organized a great Yagya for which he didn’t invite his daughter Sati Devi and Son in law Mahadev. Sati Devi went to the Yagya uninvited. Sati Devi, who could not bear her father’s humiliation, immediately consumed herself in the sacrificial fire.

Lord Shiva then carried the half-burnt body of Sati Devi around the world. The right elbow of Sati Devi fell in the Halesi area, which originated as Raj Ghar Pith Raj Griheshwari Devi Meteor Mukhi Yogini Haleshwar Mahadev.

According to the Kiranti legend, Raichhakule, the ancestor of Kirati, lived in the Halesi cave. Raichhakule has different names like Khokchilipa, Hetchukuppa, etc.

Before coming to the cave, he lived on the hill of Tuwachung. Raichhakule had two sisters, Tayama and Khiama. One day after eating some toxic food, Raichhakule fainted. He didn’t wake up. Assuming he was dead, his two sisters were upset.

So Tayama went to Terai, and Khiama went to Himalaya. After some time, Raichhakule wakes up and shock after not seeing his sisters. So he came to Halesi cave and began living here. He sent a rooster toward the lake. On the other hand, the two sisters met at Tuwachung and settled there.

They built up the cotton farm and started knitting clothes. The rooster found the two sisters and brought them back to their brother. Brothers and sisters were united, so they started dancing and singing to Sakala Sili. From that day, sakela sii started, and kirantis every year came to Halesi to celebrate ubhauli and udhauli.

Another kiranti legend is also popular in Halesi. Haleshi used to be the home of Patesung and Dakihama, who are the kiranti ancestors. They used to live in the caves of Halesi. These caves were home for them as the house building practice was not originated.

They hunted animals and live on fruits found in the forest. Raichhakule and his sisters Tayama and Khiama were also born in the caves. Raichhakule married Wailung in the Halesi area.

The wedding practice among the kirantis began from this period. Raichhakule then left the cave and built the house as he had married the daughter of the king. She had the habit of living in her own house.

Since then, the practice of building one’s own home and wearing clothes has begun. Farming for a living had also begun. In the meantime, the Halesi cave became anonymous. Many years later, a kiranti Hunter named Bagmara rediscovered the cave. One day while he has hunted, his dog fell into the cave.

The dog started barking continuously. He also went after his dog but could not descend below the cave as it was dark. After two-three days, he went with his friends and brothers to rescue his dog. And he descends to the depths of the cave.

There he could not find his dog but saw the various structures inside the cave lighting. Afterward, the matter came to Sen King. At this time, the kirantis were under the control of the Sen dynasty. There was a small state of kirantis. All of them were autonomous under Sen.

Halesi also came by the name of the Holesung king. Holesung was the king of Durchhim. The ruins of his palace are still on Durchhim. 

His grandson, Bhuvaram, was killed by Prithvi Narayan Shah. Bhuvaram was also the king under Sen. Thus; they called Shankaracharya from India when they discovered the cave.

Because they were the protectors of Hinduism. Halesi then was duly propagated as Mahadev. The stone inside the cave was called Shivling.

The Buddhist legend has been explained below.

Importance

It is needless to say that Halesi Mahadev is one of the most important sacred shrines for Hinduism. The main statue of Lord Shiva is believed to be not man-made but originated naturally by the blessing of God.

Halesi Mahadev Temple, Khotang Nepal
Halesi Mahadev Temple, Khotang Nepal

Mahadev and many idols that truly resemble the family of Lord Shiva like Ganesh, Parwati, Nandi, and Bhringi are also found here. Likewise, other idols which also seem to originate naturally are worshipped as other 33 Koti gods and goddesses of Hinduism.

Halesi Mahadev Temple is the one place where the worshipping of the devotees seems to be complete. Here is some other importance.

  1. Tri-religious site: Halesi Dham, the confluence of Kirat, Hindu and Buddhist religions, is one of the many pilgrimage sites and tourist destinations in Nepal. In ancient times, the Kiratis Khokchilippa, Reichikule, Hechukuppa used to live in the Halesi cave. In the legend mentioned above, it is said that it was one of the kirantis who accidentally found out about Halesi Mahadev and it’s cave. Here, on the occasion of the annual festival of Ubhauli-Udhaoli, Kirantis from Khotang, Bhojpur, Udayapur, Okhaldhunga, Solukhumbu gather and worship their ancestors. Hinduism’s legend has faith that Lord Mahadev himself had dug the Mahadev and Basaha cave to escape from the Bhasmasur demon. So the temple is important to devotees of Hinduism belief. According to Buddhism, hundreds of years ago in this land, the great Buddhist guru Padmasambhava acquired wisdom after the hard penance over the years. Buddhists consider this cave to be a sacred place called the Maratik Cave. Therefore, every year thousands of Kirat, Buddhist and Hindu devotees visit this place.
  2. Natural Landscape: Even the natural landscape structure of the Halesi cave is considered unique in the world. The cave is full of captivating natural shapes, and people get bewildered by various unique and attractive natural shapes of rocks. This temple of Lord Shankar, which was built by a hole in the hill, is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva himself.
  3. Religious Beliefs: Visiting Halesi Mahadev Temple believes that one can be liberated from drought, liberated from suffering. Can obtain longevity life, healthy body, get rid of diseases, earn income and get promotion in jobs. If childless parents worship here, they get good offsprings. There is confidence in the fulfillment of the aspiration by worshiping Halesi Mahadev. Every year a big fair is organized here four times during Shiva Ratri, Teej, Bala Chaturdashi, and Ram Navami. Pilgrims and tourists from different countries visit this temple during this period. This place is like a wish-fulfilling jewel. It has the perfect highest qualities necessary for the practice of spiritual achievement and surpasses any other sacred place.
  4. Symbol of true secularism: Halesi has to be remembered as the true example of secularism adopted by today’s Nepal. In secularism, all religions preserve their existence and everyone respects all religions and guarantees equal religious rights. Long ago, there has been a guarantee of secularism and religious tolerance in Halesi.
  5. Tourist destination: Halesi Mahadev Temple has been designated one of the 100 most visited destinations by the government. Halesi Dham is also named after the tourist destination declared by the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation. According to the ministry, 100 places have been identified in various districts to attract tourists by creating new tourist destinations. The government announced that it would develop infrastructure by announcing hundreds of tourist destinations in this Fiscal Year. Here, those who believe in Hindu and Buddhism come for a visit. A tourist arrives from Bhutan, Japan, and Korea, in particular.

Maratik Cave for Buddhists

Introduction and historical context of Maratik/ Halesi:

Maratik or Chi ba mthar byed in Tibetan means rid of death, and is also known as Halesi. The place is enriched with history, mythology and sacred geology despite its great isolation. It is a major holy place for Buddhists and Hindus.

For Tibetan Buddhists in particular, it is the place of immortality. It is one of the six supreme pilgrimage sites in the world for Buddhists. This is where the great master, the second Buddha Padmasambhava, and Dakini Mandarava have achieved the realization of eternal life following their spiritual journey.

Maratik was also blessed by the family of the three protectors Manjushri, Vajrapani and Avalokiteshvara. For many years, the sacred caves of Maratika have been a very important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists seeking to engage in long-living practices.

Because of its historical connection with Padmasambhava, the Lotus-Born Guru and the family of three protectors. It is particularly sacred in the Rime movement (or No Sectarianism), in Tibetan Buddhism in general and in Tantric Buddhism.

According to legend, Guru Padmasambhava subjugated the Lord of Death’s demons before embarking on a three-month meditation retreat in the central cave of Maratika. Under the supervision of the deity Amitayus, the Buddha of eternal life.

The deity appeared directly to Guru Padmasambhava, granting him the long-lived Abhisheka. Guru Rinpoche fulfills the level of Vidyadhara, beyond death and birth, whose signs are still visible in the cave until today.

The largest region comprises three hills called holy mountains, the one in the center is known as Avalokitesvara mountain and is home to the two main caves. Above the entrance to the caves is the Maratika Chimey Tackled Choling Monastery.

On either side of Avalokitesvara hill is Vajrapani hill to the south. And Manjushri hill to the north, forming the trio of the family of three protectors or Rig sums gonpo in Tibetan.

Meaning of Maratik

Maratik means Chi ba mthar byed, which translates as the cave of the end of the destruction of death. Because Padmasambhava has reached a level of power beyond birth and death in Maratik, the name of this place has become Maratika. Several terms such as those of Nyang-rel Nyima Özer, Sangye-Lingpa and others include references to Maratik.

Meaning of Halesi

When Tibetan king Trisong De’utsen began building the glorious Samye Monastery, what they built during the day was systematically destroyed by demons during the night. King Trisong Deutschen, therefore, sent his minister Dorje Dodjom to India to invite Padmasambhava.

The great Tantric practitioner holds the power of all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future. Padmasambhava, accepting the invitation of the king, was returning to Tibet with Dorje Dodjom. But while passing through Nepal, they arrived at Haleshod, which means describe the experience of astonishment.

Stopping here to rest, the minister was so surprised to be on this holy mountain site. That he turned to Guru Rinpoche and asked him: Why is this mountain so amazing?

Padmasambhava revealed to him the inner and the spiritual exterior and the secrets and explanations of astonishment about the sacred place. Thus the name of Maratika became Haleshe, Haleshod or Haleshen in the Tibetan language and gradually became Halesi in the local language.

Caves of Halesi

The Halesi (also Halase, Halenshi, Haleshi, Halasy) is a village in eastern Nepal, in the district of Okhaldunga Sagarmatha, about 5 km southwest Lamidanda airfield.

To get there, there are various possibilities. Either from Lamidanda via Bijule, Aarkhaule, then along the Halesikamm on foot 6 hours to Halesi. Or from Rampua (bridge over the Dudhkoshi river below Lamidandas) along the river to Mahadeo Besi to conquer the mountain. Or finally in full 7-hour Hike from Okhaldunga (3 hrs from Rumjatar Airfield) to Halesi.

The last possibility to reach Halesi consists of a 2-day hike from Katari (bus terminus) to Halesi to hike. Halesi is a place of pilgrimage, equally for Hindus from the Terai and North India.

As well as for Buddhists from Tibet, the Nepalese highlands and Bhutan. The peculiarity of the place is four caves, located in the small hill, which rises from the valley pan of the high valley.

1. Mahadev Cave

Not far from the Tibetan scripture, devout Hindus recognize a footprint of their God Shiva in the wall. Shiva hid from a demon in the cave but was finally discovered. Shiva fled through the day’s chimney, then to the Maratik Cave.

Further, one finds a water-drop oracle in the shaft-wall. The oracle can be used to predict the sex of a child to be proclaimed. On the large meadow, below the cave’s main entrance, the large markets take place in Halesi.

The entrance of this main cave of Halesi is located at the North-East end of the cave mountain, but not on the hillside but still on the hilltop. Access can not be missed if you follow the path that leads to the village and bends at the Buddha Temple, where they hang many bells. Sharp right off, you will come to this hole.  

A massive staircase leads the visitor about 15m into the 10 x 5 m crater’s depth. And gives access to a spherical cavity with a diameter of approx. 20m. These are the places where the natural symbols of the God Shiva, the Shiva lingams, stand. The Shivalingam is a phallic symbol that is instantly recognized by every good Hindu.

Looking more closely at the ceilings and walls, one discovers several noteworthy, albeit weathered, sinter formations – Disques, sinter flags, stalactites. These are worth mentioning in two respects.

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On the one hand, they decorate the cave. On the other hand, the sintering on the wall and in the ground serve to polish the pilgrims through numerous distractions their soul healing karma.

Another conclusion is reserved for expectant mothers! Successful penetration through the hole or the gateways makes the future of the new earth-citizen seem assured. It is certainly a breathtaking spectacle during high pilgrimage season to watch all the people tormenting themselves somewhere and somehow through a hole.

2. Basaha Cave

From Mahadev cave at about 100 feet west, Basaha cave is situated about 220 ft. In length and 50 ft. Wide. It can accommodate 100 people at once. Once within 210 ft. Inside the cave, one can reach an open and bright plain. Where the open sky can be seen from the rock holes.

The entrance of the cave is located on the SW slope of the cave mountain. Just above the waterhole, which supplies the village with the precious wet. A well-trodden path leads to the cave, which was once closed with lattice gates.

This measure had, however, probably almost around the world, not proven. The cave is currently freely accessible by the relatively small entrance (width approx. 4m, height approx. 2.7m). One arrives fast in a large tunnel passage.

Which with approx. 10m width and 5m height as easily passable. The ride comfort is also increased by a rolled-in cave floor and concrete steps. These measures were taken to manage the large flows of people better. The 10 x 15m platform was built to allow more people to look at the peculiarities in this part of the cave or remain in worship.

The Tibetan characters are dominant on the southern shaft wall. Through them, this part of the cave becomes the natural temple. It is customary for pilgrims to ask for milk from lord Shiva at the cave’s western corner. It is believed that the milk will drop only on the hands of the righteous devotee.

Similarly, in the same place, Ganesh’s statue in the elephant trunk on the north right corner. The Basaha cave is also adorned by Nandi, Bhringi, Gaurishankar and Goman snakes, and other natural idols.

3. Bhairav Cave

About 30 meters east of the Mahadev cave, there is a fascinating Bhairav ​​cave. This cave also has its significance and specialty. 

It is a classical belief that Lord Vishnu came from Kailash, in Parvati, to save Mahadeva from the demon named Bhasmasur. Parvati had deceived the demon and devoured it, the remains of which are believed to be in the Bhairav ​​cave. Therefore, it is also known as Bhasmasur Cave.

4. Dungdelima Cave

This cave is no longer in the cave mountain of Halesi, but it is only about 200m North-East of Matarik cave. In the rocks, above the path that leads past the row of houses lying there. The entrance is about 5m above the path and is visible despite all kinds of greenery.

This is about 25m long and designed as a passage cave. A third entrance leads approximately halfway into the open again. The cave rises from West to East about 5m. It is not as big as Maratik or even Basaha Gupha, but even the genesis by magic hands a few years ago sounds very impressive.

How to reach Haleshi Mahadev Temple?

Not so long ago, it was a compulsion to reach the Halesi Mahadev temple via Lamidanda Airport of Khotang, Nepal’s Eastern hilly district. But the road through clay built has been constructed.

Now, to reach Halesi, which is flooded with religious pilgrimage, it can be easily reached through the Mirchaiya-Katari road section through the East-West highway. Through the Mid-Highway, one can reach Halesi Mahadev Temple directly through Jayaram, Bahunidanda Kaduva Chyasmitar, Badhare, Durchhim Chhapdanda.

Positive Steps Being Taken in Halesi which are Praiseworthy

Halesi Mahadev of Khotang is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Nepal. According to Hindu mythology, Halesi is associated with the story connected with Mahadev and Bhasmasur, and Buddhism has a similar relation. 

We have seen Hindus and Buddhists worship together in places like Boudha, Lumbini, Swayambhu and Muktinath Kshetra. However, some religious sites in Nepal are connected to Lord Shiva and Buddhist paths are crowded in Shiva temple. Halesi Mahadev is one of them.

1. Road Construction

Although Halesi’s distance is not that far from Kathmandu, it seems too far away because of road conditions, seasonal roads, and vehicles’ unavailability. There are two motor routes to reach there from Kathmandu.

The main east-west highway would reach Mirchiya in Siraha and to Kataree by travelling a distance of 26 km and then to Ghurmi completing 46 km. After completing Dhulikhel’s journey to BP Highway, about 120 km from Furkot, go another 60 km from there to Ghurmi.

From Dhulikhel, a 28 km route from Nepalthok to Furkot is under construction as it is difficult during the rainy season. The 60 km route from Furkot to Ghurmi is weak. Due to the lack of bridges in the rivers, the motor cannot operate during the rainy season.

From Katari to Ghurmi, vehicles always operate on the way. After reaching the Ghurmi Bazaar in Udaipur, the journey becomes even more exciting. The Ghurmi Bazaar, situated on the river Sunkoshi, continues to play the role of trading centers.

Especially for Sindhuli, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Solukhumbu, and Khotang. If and when the roads are well constructed, this place can be effective.

The government has arranged a free ferry for crossing Sunkoshi from Ghurmi. From morning to evening, it is fun to watch people and cars transferring to Harkpur in Okhaldhunga. During the rainy season, the ferry cannot be operated, so the motors cannot be transferred. For people, a little suspension bridge has been built over it.

About 17 km from Harkapur can reach Jairamghat. The road is under construction, but not too difficult. It is blacked in place. From Jairamghat, we have to cross Dudhkosi towards Halesi. Other times, the vehicle can be easily operated on Belibridge.

However, it will be necessary to cross the suspension bridge by keeping the vehicle there as it will be removed during the rainy season. Eventually, the Khotang district begins. From there, climbing 32 km, then reach Halesi. The path is not so bad as it gets worse from place to place. The higher the climb, the more enjoyable the views.

2. Cheap Accommodations

There are good hotels near the periphery of the temple to eat/stay in Halesi. Even though there is a small market, it is not so expensive as the temple. Is so nearby. This shows how much people have faith and devotion to God. The journey is exhausting and long. At times, this 230 km trip may not be possible in one day.

That is why some pilgrims go to Ghumre for an overnight stay. The description of Halesi is found in the Puranas. According to the Puranas, when Bhasmasur received Mahadeva’s boon, he tried to burn Mahadev himself by placing his hand over Shiva’s head.

So Lord Shiva escaped from the demon through the cave. This cave is called Halesi. Mahadev breaks out of the cave by Trisul, and the exit point is called Vyas Cave. 

Mahadev’s ‘Shiva Ling’ is in the cavern where he lives. There is the main worship place.

Likewise, there are Janmadwar, Karmadwar, Papdwar, and Dharmadwar on the left and right sides of the Shivalinga. The legend says that the unrighteous and sinful people will not be able to enter these gateways.

It is interesting to watch people making an effort to enter through this gateway. There is also a belief that those couples who are childless if went to Janmadwar and prayed.

They will obtain God and healthy and offspring. Parvati’s worship in the upper part of the cave is worshiped as it is believed that blessings cannot be received without worshiping the idol of Parvati.

3. Religious Co-existence

Shivling in a cave is different from the Lingas in other Shivalay. Due to the iron bar around it, one cannot touch the Linga and worship it. Because of the long and old caves, thousands of bats are visible inside the cave. Their voice makes the atmosphere different.

On the one hand, it is connected with the story of Mahadev of Hindus. And on the other, the Buddhists have their own story associated with the same cave and place.

Thousands of religious pilgrims visit from Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet every year to visit Halesi. Because of the many stories connected with Rimpocchi and demons. Such a coincidence appears only in some temple. 

This place is more famous by the Halesi cave’s name than the Halesi Temple because both religions are equally revered. Even the Hindus who reach Halesi Temple don’t miss the opportunity to worship in the monastery.

4. Renovation

The work of the renovation of the temple has been carried out in Halesi, Khotang. The renovation was initiated at a joint venture of the federal government and the Halesi Tuwachung municipality.

They have invested RS. 82 lakhs for the renovation. The renovating is being done in a way such that the natural beauty and structure are not damaged. The renovation work is started without touching any of the naturally formed structures.

The cemented stairs and structures built in the year 2044 B. S. Are removed. The pillars, Meditation and worship places made from cement to enclose the Shivalinga are being replaced by naturally made elements.

The cemented pillar near main Shivalinga is removed, and the copper pole is erected in its place. Earlier, the cave, which has only one entrance route, is currently undergoing a separate route for the visitors.

The renovation objective is to restore the temple in its original form, so even the colours that resemble the natural colour of the cave are being applied.

5. CCTV camera for security of the devotees

CCTV cameras are installed in the temple, and surrounding areas as the number of visitors and tourists increased in Halesi. Since the temple is overcrowded around the year, these cameras are installed with the municipality’s investment.

To control the possibility of theft and the possibility of criminal activity. After installing the CC camera, an information center was established on behalf of the municipality to monitor every activity in Halesi.

The cameras are installed in Mahadev cave, Parvati than, Basaha cave, and other peripheral areas. So the tourists and visitors are now feeling safe.

There is also a board that says You are under the surveillance of a CC camera in the main area of ​​the Halesi. Since then, activities like degradation, dehumanizing and crowding have been minimized. The area is becoming clean, hygienic and beautiful.

6. The solution to the water problem

The deep boring (land piercing) scheme has been started in the religious and tourist places of Halesi. 

As Halesi is regarded as a drought area, the step of installing deep boring has been initiated. As the solution to the water problem. Till now, people and devotees to offer water to Shivalinga have to carry their water. Or they have to collect the water from Dudhkoshi. People here often collect the rainwater and bring the water from Dudhkoshi for their household chores.

Problems 

One of the major religious tourist centers of province 1 is the Halesi Mahadev Temple of Khotang. However, because of the mismanagement of the Temple Development Committee of Halesi, the condition of the temple and it’s premised is deteriorating day by day.

The condition of the temple premises is itself advertising the irregularities happening in the management of the temple. Losing a devotee shoe, not having a toilet, being dirty everywhere is an evergreen problem in Halesi. 

Devotees do not get any refuge in the sunshine or the rain. There is a shortage of water in the whole market. External devotees do not prolong their stay in Halesi unless there is a clean environment, standard hotels, security sensations, etc. These are the minor problems that can be easily seen on the temple premises. Others are:

Non-working committee: The Halesi Mahadevsthan Temple Development Committee under the Ministry of Culture. And the Halesi Mahadev Temple Management Committee under the Guthi Institute is active in the area.

Now a powerful local level has been added to it – the Halesi Tuwachung Municipality. The development committee is formed following the Halesi Development Committee (Formation) Order, 2053. The management committee was formed at the local level with the consensus of different parties.

The government appoints the Executive Director in the Development Committee. Locals say the temple and the vicinity are in such a bad state of affairs. Because the employees come only for a job and exploit resources, both committees have neither searched the properties of Halesi Mahadev nor kept track of the pilgrims coming to Halesi.

In Halesi, there were days when devotees used to visit the temple only four times a year. During Bala Chaturdashi, Ram Navami, Shiva Ratri, and Teej. But after the road facility, there is now a crowd of devotees all the time a year.

The temple’s condition shows that the committee is not paying attention to keep the temple and its vicinity in a fast and orderly manner. 

Apart from the offering, there is also an annual budget provided by the Ministry of Culture. And there is also a regular financial, including market taxes, toll rentals.

The Halesi temple has 76 ropani land, which has no rights of anyone except for the temple. Today a large number of Private houses have been erected in this land. It does not appear that any executive director of the Temple Development Committee, who consume government facilities, is paying attention.

Lack of water to offer to Shiva: There is a lack of water in Halesi. The devotees who come to worship Lord Shiva have to carry water themselves. Devotees do not even get to offer water to Mahadev. When there is no water supply, it is necessary to bring water from Sunkoshi. Water is wasting away in Sunkoshi. 

  1. But the attention of the people’s representatives does not seem to be getting there.
  2. Poor Transportation Facility: Not much long time ago, Lamidanda airport was the only option for reaching Halesi. But after the bridge and motorways’ construction, the journey to the temple has become quite easy. But still, the roads reaching here are poorly constructed. Especially during the rainy season, travel to the temple becomes much difficult. The responsible bodies and authorities are not paying much attention to this direction.
  3. Poor communication mediums: The locality of the temple itself is situated amid the high mountains. So obviously, communication and mobile networks are quite poor here. WiFi connections are also low, so it becomes difficult for tourists to communicate. There is a lack of good travel agencies through which tourists can book tickets.
  4. Low-quality accommodation facility: There are hotels, lodges and guest houses nearby the location of the temple. But they are not up to the mark such that the tourists prefer to return to another destination rather than staying here. Hot and cold water for drinking and shower, less spacious rooms, poor toilets, less security are some issues that have to be dealt with.
  5. Lack of Good Publicity: There’s no doubt that Halesi Cave and while Khotan district is gifted by nature. The natural beauty, various shaped enormous rocks, forests, various species of flora and fauna found here are unique which cannot be seen and found anywhere else. Still, the place is not in the limelight. Not many people and international tourists know about this place. It is because there is less or no advertising for this place.
  6. Encroachment of the temple land: The land separated from the temple has been infringed by people to construct Private buildings, hotels, lodges, and other purposes. This has been the main cause of the deterioration of the temple’s natural state and the cave. These have also been the reason for the increasing pollution around the vicinity of the temple. The responsible authorities should remove this encroachment with proper compensation.

Why should Halesi be the focal point for tourism?

When one hears about something, he becomes a believer, but he believes they turn to faith when he witnesses something with his own eyes. Halesi is the perfect example for this, where people landing for the first time the pleasant surprise, confusions and turn to the believer after catching the first glimpse of the temple.

Situated on the high mountains’ lap, such a beautiful structure, such a magnificent position, must be seen with your eyes. Such an opportunity comes only after climbing a steep hill.

After that, there is growing concern about this sacred land’s geography, which is briefly discussed. Faith and worship are aroused in this regard. There is more to be discovered. Being on a hilltop, it is a bit difficult to come by. 

The natural appearance of the Halesi Mahadev Temple is so wonderful at this mountainous peak that it can make all those involved in the journey very emotional. Because the structure here is incredible. There is a triangular union of life, nature, and culture.

The place of so much joy, this land of peace, so many mysterious stories and legends have not yet been well explored. Appropriate conservation and maintenance work did not seem to be done at all. Also, the importance of such a mysterious sanctuary has not been realized yet.

The genesis of the curious Halesi can make the people forget themselves. This place of great natural terrain has to be expanded as a major destination for both pilgrims and internal and external tourists.

The head is bowed with reverence when it comes to the unbelievable textures of this temple. Faith melts the heart. What will atheists not be affected by this form? Believers have to be embraced by devotion to this adorable God.

Halesi Mahadev Temple is a real pilgrimage site. Being in such a natural state that such a form is a model of another wonder. In the first place, due to the inconvenience of transportation, the site is still overflowing with a great deal of trouble.

But the construction of the open roadways has increased the attractiveness of Halesi. Many more histories of its mysterious origins will come to light. This is the holy pillar of many pilgrims. It is a place to fulfill many people’s vows. It is a place for people to forget their distress.

Such worship of reverence and devotion can be witnessed here. Walking tourists also come here from time to time and return with joy.

One of the praiseworthy aspects of this temple is that the practice of sacrificing animals and birds is forbidden here. Fun traditions of reciting hymns, ballads, repetitions, and songs can also be seen during the fair. The East Hill folklore collection may become the center of Halesi’s fair.

Various types of lyrics regarding affection, sorrow are echoed at the fair. Local and regional song and dance folk culture of Magars from the Dudhkoshi area can also be seen here.  

The scene in Halesi Mahadev Temple has to be improved. As inside the cave, there is a practice of performing Yagya, reciting hymns. This kind of process can affect the natural design of the cave.

So arrangements to do so in a separate location would be convenient for other visitors. A perfect showcase of secularism can be witnessed here. There is a Buddhist monastery along the entrance to Halesi. Similarly, Halesi is considered to be the pious lands of the Kirat people as well.

According to Kirat legend, the stones as the image of Toyama Khiya, the primitive ancestor of the Kiratis, are worshipped here. Similarly, for a few years, various Kirat tribes, associations have also been working to protect, enhance this place as Kirat’s heartland.

The Tuwachung-jaijum Festival of Kiratis is celebrated here. A master plan for the protection of Tuwachung-Jaizum had already begun. Halesi is also considered the origin of Mundhum, the main religious book of kirantis. Thus, the Dham is a sacred pilgrimage place for Hindus, Buddhists, and Kiratis.

Earlier, the fair held many of the local produce. For example, sugarcane, peanuts, Radi, etc., were kept in the area. But over time, these products have been stopped producing.

The place is surrounded by forests, hills that can be an important place in promoting natural beauty and tourism. On the other hand, the mountains are decorated with bright red rhododendrons in the month of Falgun and Chaitra. In the open season, beautiful mountainous terraced fields can be seen, including Everest, Dudhkoshi, Sunkoshi, etc.

This place also seems to be a suitable destination for biological and geological studies, along with religious and natural sites. As the surrounding area of ​​Halesi is a primitive place of Kirat civilization, it can also be a suitable site for sociological and anthropological studies.

Kiranti king Shankhohang, Lelimhang, Khamsohang, Boudha priest Padmasamvab, Mirchaiya Baba Sri Damodarananda Brahmachari, Kalidas Baba, and Hindu Guru Shankaracharya had visited this holy place.

In 2044 B. S. Bhutani king Jigmesigme Wangehung had also visited this holy temple. King Birendra, Gyanendra, Sher Bahadur Deuwa, Khikraj Regmi, Ram Baran Yadav are some of the VIPs who have visited this place. Still, the place, the temple and the vicinity have not been well developed.

By Ankur Pradhan

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