Barahachhetra is the great Hindu Pilgrimage site which carries great historical and religious significance in Nepal. This holy place has been one of the major tourist destinations for many years. The temple carries the spiritual power which has believed to cleanse the soul and heart of the many devotees. This place is one of Nepal’s oldest shrines in Puranas including Brahma Purana,Varaha Purana and Skanda Purana and is even mentioned and glorified in the epic Mahabharata. It is one of the chhetra of the 4 chhetra in the Hindu mythology. Among four 2 of them are in India and 2 of them are in Nepal. The four chhetra of the Hindu mythology are Kurukshetra and Dharmachhetra in India and Barahachhetra and Muktinath or Mukti Chetra in Nepal.
Barahachhetra is a famous pilgrimage site that remains inside the Barahakshetra Municipality of Sunsari district. The pilgrimage site is located between the confluence of Koka and Koshi rivers. In Barahachhetra, the Varah, an incarnation of Vishnu is worshipped. It is taken as the most important pilgrimage site in the eastern region of Nepal. The place is located about 5 km North West from the Dharan. This temple displays the both cultural and natural heritage. Many visitors indulge in the spiritual and serene environment of the temple. Situated in front of the river and surrounded by the beautiful lush green forests and hills, it provides uniqueness and stunning natural beauty to the temple.
Barahachhetra has been mentioned in the many religious Hinduism puranas. It is the place said to be guarded by the Lord Vishnu known as the protector of the universe. According to the legends and the stories in the Hindu puranas, when the earth was in great danger and was disturbed by the evil power. The Gods in heaven could not bear this scene so they decided to do something to protect the earth from these evil powers and spirits. To combat this problem Lord Vishnu, the protector of the universe took the incarnation of the Varaha or Baraha and protected them from being submerged into the underworld (patal lok) with his long tusk. It is also believed that Lord Vishnu has incarnated as a Boar (Braha) in this place and destroyed an evil demon named Hiranyakashyapu at this place so it is called the place of the Baraha ( Barahachhetra).
Then after this the Lord Vishnu sat with his wife Goddess Laxmi at the bank of Koshi River in the lap of the Himalayas. The present appearance of the original temple of Barahachhetra was made in the year 1991 BS according to the Nepali Calendar. Reconstruction of the temple was then done by the Juddha Shamsher Rana for the last time in 1991 BS after the temple was demolished and destroyed by the earthquake of 1990 BS. Idols of Gods and Goddesses of more than 1500 years have been found in this place.
Barahachhetra is the Hindu temple built in the pagoda style with the pinnacle on the top. The main shrine of the temple contains the scripture of the Lord Vishnu. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu after he protected the earth from collapsing into the underworld. There are nine other temples inside the premises including that of Laxmi, Panchayan, Guruvarah, Suryavarah, Kokawarah and Nageshwar and many hospices in the Barahakshetra. Many pilgrims around Nepal and India come here to offer their prayers to the Lord Vishnu. The main festivals celebrated here in the temple are Kartik Purnima and Makar Sankranti. People from India especially come here during the occasion of Kartik Purnima and people from Nepal especially visit here on the auspicious day of the Makar Sankranti. Many pilgrims come here for a dip at the river during these festivals and offer their prayers to the Lord Vishnu.
Except this huge number of pilgrims arrive at the special occasion of the Rishi Panchami, Byas Panchami, Fagu purnima and other Ekadasis. Each day in the temple seems like a fete due to the regular flow of the people. A common belief states it is mandatory for people who have lost their parents to visit this pilgrimage site and perform Sraddha (offerings to Ancestors) so that their parents would cross the astral river Baitrani and their spirit will not wander in between and they will not have to be reborn. There is a stone which is positioned facing the image of the Lord Vishnu. Anybody who is able to lift the stone with one finger is speculated to be free of sin. All these fascinating facts of the temple makes it a popular pilgrimage tour in Nepal.
Nepal is the World’s Fifth destination to experience the great fairy known as the Kumbha Mela. In every twelve years, a Kumbha Mela has been organized in Nepal since the year 2058 BS. It has organized a total of two of these great festivals here. This festival is celebrated in the cycle of approximately 12 years at the river bank of the Koshi River. It is marked by a ritual dip in the river, but it is also a celebration of community commerce with numerous fairs, education, religious discourses by saints, mass feeding of monks or the poor and entertainment spectacle. The devotees believed that bathing in the river during this festival is meant to atonement penance for past mistakes, and that it cleanses them for their sins. More than 600,000 pilgrims from all round the country and India visited Kumbh Snan in Koshi in the year 2070.
I went to this religious place with my family members. We took a bus ride to Sunsari from the Kathmandu valley. The ride was through the circular paths along the hills with the beautiful views of the river valleys, forests, and Himalayas. It was about an 8 hour ride to reach Sunsari. We rested in the hotel and had dinner. We all have to wake up early in the morning to reach the temple. We took the bus from the main market area and reached there.
The temple is on the lap of the hills between the junctions of the two rivers. We bought some pooja materials from the market area of the temple. There was a queue of the devotees in the temple so we also stayed for about 15 minutes in line and finally got the opportunity to worship the Lord Vishnu. After worshipping the Lord, we went outside the temple premises and roamed around the bank of the Koshi river. I enjoyed the beautiful views of the hills and rustling sound of the river.
The visitors can go there by the direct bus ride from Kathmandu valley to Sunsari and take another ride from there to the temple. Or they can go in flight from Kathmandu to Biratnagar Airport and take a bus ride of about 2 hours to reach the destination.
The Barahakshetra temple is one of the main religious sites of the country which has carried the great traditional and cultural values to the devotees from all round the Country and India.
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