Visit Some of Nepal’s Revered Pilgrimage Sites

With hundreds of ancient temples and many religious festivals, Nepal attracts thousands of pilgrims each year, and religious tours offer travelers the opportunity to gain insight into the religious and cultural practices of this fascinating mountainous country. UNESCO lists the pilgrimage sites of Pashupatinath, Boudhanath and Swyambhunath as heritage sites in Nepal. Moreover, the country is considered to be the gateway to the mythical abode of Lord Shiva, referred to as Kailash Mansarovar.

Kathmandu Valley is an easily accessible destination and home to a number of renowned pilgrimage sites, including Dakshinkali and Guheswori which are devoted to the Goddess Durga. Considered by Hindus to be one of the holiest places in Nepal, Pashupatinath is located just six kilometers east of Kathmandu, with thousands of Hindus from around the world gathering there each year to celebrate Maha Shivaratri.

Some of Nepal’s pilgrimage sites, such as Gosaikunda and Muktinath, are not as easily accessible, and these have been incorporated into a number of trekking routes, allowing trekkers to enjoy the natural beauty of Nepal, as well as discovering its cultural treasures. Muktinath is located at an altitude of 3,710 meters in the Mustang District of Nepal. This remote pilgrimage site is sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. Located at an altitude of 4,380m north of Kathmandu, Gosaikunda can be reached by the Langtang trekking trail. The lake at Gosaikunda is said to have been created by Lord Shiva to quench his thirst. Devotees of Lord Shiva gather at the pilgrimage sight in August each year to take a dip in the lake by the light of the full moon.

Located in the Terai plains south of Kathmandu, Simraungarh was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Tirahut. The city was devastated by invaders, and archeological discoveries continue to be made, revealing much about the people who lived there when the kingdom was at its most powerful during the 11th to 14th centuries.

Thought to have been founded by King Nanyadeo of the Karnat dynasty, Simraungarh was the center of Hindu civilization at that time. This fortress city included a separate royal fortress, referred to as Ranibas, which was completely surrounded by high walls. Within the royal fortress is a temple devoted to Lord Rama and throughout the ancient site there are ponds and wells of water. Historical and religious idols are still being discovered, and many of these are displayed in an open-air museum for visitors to view. Today the many Hindu temples of Simraungarh are visited by thousands of pilgrims, and it is a popular trekking destination.