Devghat – Religious Retreat
The village of Devghat, situated about five kilometers north-west of Narayanghat in Nepal, is renowned for its pervading atmosphere of tranquility. Resting in an area where the Kali Gandaki and Trisuli Rivers converge to form the Narayani River, which goes on to flow into the great Ganges River, Devghat is considered by Hindus to be a most holy place. This is also the spot where wooded hills meet wide open plains, adding to the exquisite beauty of the landscape of this popular pilgrimage destination.
Legend has it that Sita, the heroine of the epic Ramayan, died at Devghat. Adding to the religious significance of the area, King Mahendra’s ashes were sprinkled where the three rivers meet. Many who have renounced the world (known as sanyasan) live out their last days in houses on the banks of the rivers. By renouncing the world, these sanyasan hope to achieve a favorable death and rebirth. Others have retired to live out their last days in Devghat, reportedly either to avoid being a burden to their children, or because they have no children, and resident priests (known as pujari) will perform the necessary rituals upon their death.
In January each year, the Makar Sankranti festival is celebrated in Devghat, attracting Hindu devotees from far and wide who gather to perform ceremonial bathing rituals in the river. There are a number of historical and sacred sites in and around Devghat which visitors to the area will find interesting. These include the Triveni temple and the Balmiki Ashram, where the retreat of the great sage Balmiki was situated. Tourists can visit the Someswar Kalika temple and the Kabilaspur fort, which was built by the kings of ancient Palpa. Another noteworthy site is Pandavanagar, the home at one time of the supporters of the Mahabharat. The epic poem, Mahabharat, is significant in Hinduism as Lord Krishna preached the gospel of duty, or Bhagvad Gita, to Arjun at the time of the great battle of Mahabharat. This profound philosophy on the preeminence of duty became a foundation of Hinduism.
Visitors to Devghat will soon appreciate why it has earned the reputation for being one of the most tranquil places in Nepal, while enjoying the unsurpassed beauty of the surrounding scenery and contemplating the significance that Devghat has for those adhering to Hindu teachings.