Gadhimai Temple Festival in Nepal

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The primary Gadhimai temple is located in the Mahagadhimai Municipality’s Bariyarpur village in the Bara District of south-central Nepal. The area is well recognized as the motherland of the Gadhimai-dedicated Bhojpuri people. And visitors from various areas come here mostly to worship the Gadhimai Devi, who is revered as the goddess of strength and might.

Along the Indian border, 160 kilometers from the Kathmandu Valley, is the pagoda-style temple of Gadhimai. As a result, the temple is equally important to both Indian inhabitants (especially those in Bihar) and Nepalese citizens who live in or around the area.

Gadhimai Devi, a manifestation of the Hindu goddess of force Kali, is worshipped at the Gadhimai Temple. Although the name commonly refers to the Gadhimai festival, held at the Gadhimai temple region in central Terai of Nepal, the temple is located in Mahagadhimai Municipality in Bara District of south central Nepal.

The goddess Gadhimai first appeared about 265 years ago when Bhagwan Chaudhary, the creator of the Gadhimai Temple, dreamed that she demanded blood in exchange for releasing him from prison, shielding him from evil, and promised prosperity and power.

The sacrifice of an animal has been made every five years since Chaudhary successfully defied the goddess’ request for a human sacrifice. Festival goers ring bells as a form of devotion.

The killing is done to appease the goddess Gadhimai in the hopes of gaining a wish or preventing disaster in the future.

The festival, which has been around for more than 200 years, is attended by millions of people. In order to appease Gadhimai, the goddess of power, numerous animals are sacrificed on a vast scale, including water buffalo, pigs, goats, chickens, and pigeons.

The festival has been referred to as the world’s largest or one of the largest animal sacrifice events. It is claimed that 500,000 animals were sacrificed during the Gadhimai festival.

People also offer coconuts, candy, red clothing, etc. In 2015, false information surfaced regarding Nepal’s temple trust’s intention to stop doing animal sacrifices during the festival.

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Must know facts about Gadhimai Festival of Nepal

Gadhi Mai, Virta Mai (Birganj), Boudhi Mai (Madhuwan, Bara), Sansari Mai (Shiva Nagar, Pothiyahi), Kanhar Mai (Sameera Bagadh), and Ghodashi Mai are thought to be the seven sisters of the goddess of Gadhi Mai (Dharampur, Rautahat district).

These seven sisters come together once every five years for the auspicious Gadhi Mai fair. The village of Bariyarpur is transformed into a beautiful landscape for animal sacrifice.

The devotees who attend this expo have access to a national and international arena for brotherhood, fraternity, and understanding. This fair is held for 20 days.

  • The major objective of followers is to win the Goddess Gadhimai Devi’s favor. She is thought to be the Hindu religion’s goddess of power. Animal sacrifices, according to participants, will put an end to evil and bring wealth into their lives.
  • In a concrete slaughterhouse close to the Gadhimai shrine, more than 200 men slaughter the animals.
  • There is a sizable crowd of worshippers and animals in this location throughout the month of November. More than 5 million people from Nepal and several of the southern Indian states (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar), according to estimates, will attend the festival.
  • Companies in India and Nepal buy all the animal meat and bones after the celebration is over.

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The Myths and heresies about Gadhimai

Every shrine in Nepal is wrapped in a history of religious beliefs, myths, and tales, which is not surprising. The mysterious history of Gadhimai began some 900 years ago with Bhagwan Chaudhary, a kind and unassuming Bariyarpur resident.

The thieves were caught in the act and paid the price with their deaths at the hands of the furious villagers, according to the legend: One day a theft occurred at Bhagwan Choudhary’s home.

Bhagwan Chaudhary accepted responsibility for the crime himself and was transported to Nakkhu jail in Kathmandu out of fear that his fellow villagers would be found guilty.

He was asked to be sent to Bariyarpur and the crime scene by the goddess of Makawanpur Gadhi, who first came in his dream one night and continued to appear on successive nights.

Bhagwan Chaudhary was released from the prison by the goddess’ occult abilities, and a pinch of earth from her foot to his turban gave him free passage back to his village.

Gadhimai demanded five human sacrifices annually in exchange. Bhagwan Chaudhary graciously gave up his life in sacrifice, stating that he was unable to offer human sacrifice.

Instead, he made a promise to do a quintuple sacrifice (an animal pancha bali) every five years. It would contain a water buffalo, a rat, a pig, a rooster, and several other animals.

And so the custom of using an animal pancha bali to please Gadhimai, the goddess of strength and prosperity as well as a protector against evil, was born. However, this ceremony was unsuccessful since Bariyarpur’s children and youth started falling ill and dying all of a sudden.

After addressing Gadhimai once more, the goddess instructed Bhagwan Chaudhary to give a human sacrifice in addition to the pancha bali.

A human was sought after, but to no avail. Fortunately, a peasant from Simri in the neighboring Rautahat area came to the rescue and offered five drops of blood from his body—from the chest, mouth, bottom part of the eye, thigh, and arm—instead of his life as a sacrifice. Amazingly, that stopped the disaster.

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Thus commences the sacrificial ceremony

The ritual officially begins after the chief priest performs panchbali, the tantric ceremonies of Goddess Tulaja, also known as Gadhimai, and the sacrifice of white mice, pigeons, ducks, pigs, and buffalo together with other animals on Marga Shukla Saptami according to the solar calendar.

By severing five separate body parts, blood is offered as a sign of the sacrifice. This time, Dukha Dhami, a tantrik from Simri named Rautahat, began by using the holy weapon to pierce the forehead, ear, tongue, right chest, and right loin. The puja (worship) is performed all night long.

The primary seat of worship, Bramhasthan, is claimed to naturally light up with the holy light as a result of the prayers and puja. According to Mangal Chaudhary, the temple’s main priest, “Panchabali starts after the automatic kindling of the light.” The violent act of sacrifice, which is frequently decried, has a long history in Hinduism.

The opponents of the practice claim that it misinterprets the symbolic meaning of avoiding demonic and monster traits.

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Hindu Temples in Nepal

Nepal is one of the world’s most beautiful countries, rich in natural, cultural, and historical treasures. When tourists come to Nepal for a vacation, the most known temples in Nepal can treat them with respect. They, of course, obtain full-fledged delight and also get more than they expect because of their beauty, artistic values, and historic appearance. Nepal has a plethora of religious architectural marvels thanks to its perfect blend of Hinduism and Buddhism. The temples in Nepal are a must-see for anybody visiting the country, with some having profound ties to the Ramayana and others simply stunning in their grandeur.

Famous Ancient Nepal Temples in The Serenity of the Himalayas:

Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu:

Pashupati Temple is one of Nepal’s oldest and most respected temples. The pagoda-style temple, which dates back to 400 AD, stands towering on the banks of the Bagmati River. This temple of worship, which spans 264 hectares, is devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple complex is massive, with 518 structures. The temple of Pashupatinath is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because Shiva Ratri is a Lord Shiva celebration, a large number of people come to celebrate it lavishly. Other shrines surround Pashupatinath Temple. Surya Narayan, Kritimukh Bhairav, Unmatta Bhairav, Budhanilkantha, Vasuki Nath, Hanuman temple, 184 Shivlinga, and many other shrines are located near Pashupatinath.

Note: Non-Hindus are strictly forbidden to enter the temple.

Manakamana Temple, Gorkha:

Manakamana is just another of Nepal’s several well-known temples. This Hindu temple is located in Nepal’s Gorkha district. It is the shrine of Devi Parvati’s personification, Goddess Bhagawati.  Manakamana is derived from Mana, which means ‘heart’ or’soul,’ and Kamana, which means ‘desire.’ It is 106 kilometers from Kathmandu district. People think that if you make a wish in Manakamana, the goddess will grant it and your wishes would come true. As a result, they travel there in order to make and accomplish their wish (Bhakal). This custom dates back to the 17th century.

Note: Non-Hindus are restricted to enter the temple and worship the Devi.

Dakshinkali Temple, Kathmandu:

Dakshinakali Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, as the name suggests. It is one of Nepal’s most important temples, located near the village of Pharping. The temple is devoted to Devi Parvati’s avatar, the fearsome Hindu Goddess ‘Kali.’ It was constructed during the reign of the Malla King in the 14th century. The main shrine consisted of a carved stone figure of the deity. Every Tuesday and Saturday, animal sacrifices, particularly cockerels and male goats, are made to appease the goddess’s bloodlust. Thousands of people visit the shrine during the 15-day Dashain festival.

Note: Non-believers of Hinduism are not allowed to enter the temple and perform religious rituals.

Guhyeshwari Temple, Kathmandu:

Guhyeshwari Temple is one of the Shakti Peeths, and it is located near Pashupati Temple. On the banks of the Bagmati River, King Pratap Malla built this exquisite temple in the 17th century. Guhyeshwari Temple is a representation of Devi Parvati’s divine feminine power. It is also well-liked among Tantrik devotees. This temple is built in the manner of a pagoda and has a unique interior. Bhairav Kunda, a pond near to the idol, is also there. Devotees from all around Kathmandu flock here to pray to the goddess during the Dashain festival. Together, the Pashupati and Guhyeshwari temples represent Shiva and Shakti’s might.

Note: Non-believers of Hinduism is prohibited from entering the temple.

Dantakali Temple, Dharan:

The ancient Dantakali Temple is one of the great Shakti Peeths, surrounded by the picturesque Bijayapur Hills. This is where Sati Devi’s (Lord Shiva’s wife) teeth have fallen, according to Hindu mythology. As a result, Hindus consider Dantakali Temple to be of great holy value. During Navratri, a large number of worshippers visit the shrine. Goat sacrifices are performed within the temple grounds on Maha Ashtami (the 8th day of Dashain), which is a rare yet fascinating sight. Pilgrims come from all over Nepal and India to see the Dantakali temple.

Budhanilkantha Temple, Kathmandu:

Budhanilkantha Temple situated towards the edge of Kathmandu city, near the Shivapuri hills. This temple was built in honor of Lord Vishnu. People can witness Lord Vishnu’s sleeping state there. It is the largest and most beautiful stone carving in Nepal. The statue is known as the Sleeping Vishnu, or Jalakshayan Narayan, and depicts the god leaning back on the turning curls of the inestimable snake (Shesha is the unceasing, multi-headed lord of the snake gods known as Nagas, and is Vishnu’s hireling). Vishnu’s four hands hold protests that are images of his celestial characteristics: a chakra or plate (speaking to the (primitive learning). It is one of Nepal’s most famous temples because of its distinct traits and extraordinary look.

Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu:

Swayambhu Temple, perched atop a conical hill in swayambhu, offers a spectacular view of Kathmandu. To reach the temple complex, which is known as ‘Monkey Temple,’ one must climb 365 stairs. The golden Buddha shrine, prayer wheels, and several miniature temples made of pure gold that surround the main temple complex are all worth seeing and it remains one of Nepal’s most important temples.

Bindabasini Temple, Pokhara:

The Bindabasini Temple, located among one of Pokhara’s most popular tourist sites, is one of a kind. Along the Machapuchare and Annapurna Ranges, the temple is perched on a hilltop at an elevation of 3000 feet. It’s in honor of Goddess Durga. The pagoda-style temple is thought to have been built by King Khadag Bum Malla after Devi Durga directed him to do so. Visitors flock to this majestic temple, which is surrounded by lush foliage, to spend time amidst the beautiful scenery and take in the breathtaking views.

Muktinath Temple, Jomsom:

Muktinath temple, located in the Himalayan foothills, is one of Nepal’s holiest and most well-known temples. Despite being a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this well-known temple in Nepal is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. In the front of the main temple, there are two sacred ponds. ‘Mukti Kunda’ is another name for these ponds. Hindu devotees are said to attain nirvana after bathing in the waterspouts and sacred ponds, according to Hindu tradition. Another fascinating feature of Muktinath temple is the mysterious underground blue flame known as the goddess of flame or ‘Jwala Mai.’

Ram Janaki Temple, Janakpur:

Janaki Mandir, located in Janakpur, is Nepal’s largest shrine dedicated to Goddess Sita. It was built on the site where Goddess Sita was born. The heavenly Janaki Temple is a must-see for everyone interested in learning more about the Ramayana narrative. The Janaki Mandir, with its magnificent white exterior, is an example of Hindu-Koiri Nepali architecture. The three-story temple is made completely of stones and marbles, with Nepali flags, inscriptions, murals, magnificent lattice windows, and turrets adorning the 60 chambers inside. Devotees flock to the Janaki temple for auspicious dates and festivals such as Ram Navami, Vivah Panchami, Dashain, Deepavali, and Holi.

Changu Narayan Temple, Bhaktapur:

The Changu Narayan Temple, Nepal’s oldest temple, was established during the rule of the Lichhavi Dynasty. Lord Vishnu in the form of Narayan is honored in this temple. The temple is built in the manner of a two-tiered pagoda and has four doorways guarded by stone lions. In the west of the temple, there is a massive statue of Garuda. In front of the temple entrance, there are statues of King Bhupatindra Malla and his queen. The Narasingha (half lion, half man) statue, however, is the showpiece of the Changu Narayan Temple. The monument is embellished with about 1500-year-old beautiful carvings.

Baglung Kalika Temple, Baglung:

Baglung Kalika Temple is one of Nepal’s most sacred Kali temples. The Kalika Bhagwati Temple is nestled deep within the forest, directly above the Kali Gandaki River. It is a historic temple that was built by Pratap Narayan and refurbished in 1990. There are a number of other temples within the compound as well. Tantrics from all over the world visit the temple to gain enlightenment, in addition to Hindu believers. Devotees from all over Nepal go here during Navratri to commemorate the occasion and perform puja to appease the goddess.

Mayadevi Temple, Lumbini:

Mayadevi Temple is one of the most iconic Buddhist temples in Lumbini, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the birthplace of Lord Buddha and is visited by his devotees from all around the world. Archaeologists have pinpointed the exact location where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Gautam Buddha, making this shrine sacrosanct. Through prayer and devotion, the Lumbini Gardens offer peace to the world. Mayadevi Temple should be on your itinerary if you are a traveler interested in learning about the sacred sites of South Asia.

Tal Barahi Temple, Pokhara:

The Tal Barahi Temple, a two-story pagoda-styled temple in the midst of the Phewa Lake, is dedicated to Devi Barahi, an incarnation of Durga Mata. Goddess Barahi represents Shakti and is the destroyer of all evils. The temple was constructed during the reign of King Kulmandhan Shah and is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. Visitors must take a boat journey along the Phewa Lake to get to this location. The Tal Barahi Temple is not just a safe sanctuary for pilgrims, but also for heritage lovers and nature lovers.

Haleshi Mahadev Temple:

The Halesi Mahadev temple is located in the hilly terrain of Nepal’s Khotang district. It is situated between two sacred rivers, the Dudh Koshi River on the right and the SunKoshi River on the left. Halesi Mahadev is one of the most important holy sites in the Khotang district. Inside the Cave, Halesi Mahadev, a two-foot-tall Shiva Linga, is revered. On the north side of the Shiva Linga, there are two columns that form a thin pass. Heathens are believed to be unable to access this entry, however confessions of the sins committed would allow access.

The Kalinchok Bhagwati Temple:

Hindu shrine in Nepal’s Dolkha District’s Kalinchok Rural Municipality. It is located at an elevation of 3,842 meters (12,605 feet) above sea level in Kalinchok Village (ward no. 1 of Kalinchok RM). It is a part of the Gaurishankar Conservation Area, from which two rivers, the Sun Kosi and the Tamakoshi, flow. The pilgrimage to the shrine is well-known. It used to be the only means to get to the temple, but to accommodate the expanding number of visitors, a cable car was recently constructed. The majority of visitors come to see the snow in the winter, as well as the mesmerizing landscapes and magnificent panoramic views of the Himalayan range.

Pathibhara Devi:

Pathibhara Devi or Mukkumlung (as mentioned in the Mundhum of the Limbu people) is one of Nepal’s most important temples, situated on the Taplejung hill. For Hindus, it is also regarded as one of their holiest sites. During significant occasions, worshippers from all across Nepal and India flock to the temple, believing that a journey to the temple ensures the fulfillment of the pilgrims’ wishes. At an elevation of 3,794 meters, the temple is located 19.4 kilometers north of Phungling municipality (12,448 ft). It is used as a back-up route for the Kanchenjunga trek. The ex-Royal family of Nepal is among the devotees. To appease the goddess, pilgrims offer animal sacrifices, gold, and silver.

Doleshwor Mahadev Temple:

Doleshwor Mahadev is a Hindu Temple of Lord Shiva located in Suryabinayak, south eastern part of Bhaktapur District, Nepal, and is believed to be the head part of Kedarnath located in Uttarakhand, India. Lord Kedarnath is represented by a big rock jutting in the middle of a lush forest. Only three times a year are ordinary people allowed to touch and worship here. They have to worship from outside the gate on other days.

Krishna Mandir:

Krishna Mandir is a Shikhara-style temple established by King Siddhi Narsing Malla in the 17th century. It is situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Patan Durbar Square. According to legend, it was inspired by a dream. The gods Krishna and Radha appeared in front of the palace in King Siddhi Narasingh Malla’s dream one night. A temple was built on the same site by the King. Three storeys lie beneath its 21 golden pinnacles. Krishna is worshipped on the first floor, Shiva (in the form of a linga) on the second, and Lokeshwor on the third. A series of chhatri pavilions surround the inner ambulatories, except on the lowest floor; eight each are positioned at the corners and cardinal directions of the second and third levels.Four decorative chattri are built right into each face of the sikhara on the fourth floor.

Bageshwori Temple:

The Bageshwori Temple is one of Nepal’s most important Hindu shrines. It is located in the heart of Nepalgunj, the largest city in the region’s mid-western development. It honors the goddess Bageshwori-Durga. Another noteworthy temple in the temple vicinity is the temple of Shiva with Mustache, one of only two such temples in the country. There are other minor temples within the temple area, including a Buddha temple, a Ganesha statue, and a Hanuman temple. The Bageshwori pond, which is located within the temple grounds, is also well-known among devotees, especially because it is home to the shrine of Shiva with mustache.Every year, it draws thousands of devotees from all around the country, as well as from India’s border cities. The temple attracts a large crowd of people, especially during the Dasain festival, the country’s largest celebration, who come to pray to the goddess and give animal sacrifices. These festivals include Shiva ratri, Teej, and Magh sukla purnima.

Pindeshwor Temple:

Pindeshwor Temple is located in the Dharan Sub-Municipality in Nepal’s Sunsari District. A big number of devotees from various regions gather barefoot every Monday in the month of Shraavana and on the occasion of Maha Shivratri to pay devotion to Lord Shiva with holy water from the Koshi River. It is claimed that if a devotee offers water from the Saptakoshi and Koka Rivers in the Barahachetra temple and water from the Kaushiki Tat at the Pindeshwor Shivalaya, their wishes will be granted. Oil lamps are constantly blazing in the Pindeshwor Temple.

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