Halesi Mahadev: For Spiritual and Religious Redemption

The Halesi cave shrine offers tourists an intriguing geological feature.

16, Nov 2022 | nepaltraveller.com

One of Nepal's most mystical and spiritual destinations, Halesi Mahadev is also known as the Pashupatinath Temple of Eastern Nepal

One of the important pilgrimages in Nepal is Halesi Mahadev, which is situated in the Eastern Khotang area. Many locals and Indian tourists call it the Pasupatinath Temple of Eastern Nepal since both temples are connected to Mahadeva or lord Shiva. It is located between 3100 and 4734 feet above sea level and is about 215 kilometres east of Kathmandu Valley. The followers of Buddhism believe that the caverns are connected to the Padmasambhava mythology. It is one of the most popular, appreciated, and well-known holy locations for Hindus, Buddhists, and Kirati people, and it perfectly exemplifies Nepal’s secularism and religious tolerance. 

The place is reachable by an unfinished road that connects Halesi with Kathmandu, as well as other eastern highlands and Terai towns like Katari that lead to the Indian border region. The closest airport from Kathmandu to Halesi is Lamidanda, where the flight takes 35 minutes.

According to a famous Hindu story, Lord Shiva arrived in Halesi to flee a possibly deadly onslaught from the demon Bhasmasura, who planned to kill him. Shiva entered the cave through the cave roof and fled to different hiding places while Vishnu fooled the monster and killed him. Near the large hole, there is a large footprint that Shiva Mahadeva allegedly left as he walked on the wall before vanishing through the hole.

Years later, a hunter from the Rai caste in the area used to hunt in this forest. He tried to chase a deer that had ducked into some bushes. The hunting dog went into the bushes in search of the deer, but neither one came back. The hunter then asked the people for help and walked to the bushes, where they came across a cave. Surprisingly, they found a large Shivalinga encircled by a snake as soon as they entered the cave. They were ecstatic to see this and immediately started to revere it as Lord Shiva’s home.

According to Buddhist legends, the area got its name because a Tibetan Buddhist who visited it used the Tibetan word “Holyasso”, which means “Place of Wonders”. Later, the word Holyasso became twisted, and people began referring to the holy site as Halesi. According to one source, Maratika is a sacred power site where the outward, inner, and hidden mandalas are complete; a wish-fulfilling jewel that surpasses any other holy place in India for the practice of spiritual development. Buddhists revere it as the heavenly spot where their great Guru Rim Poche, Padmasambhava, acquired immortality via mediation.

The Halesi cave shrine offers tourists an intriguing geological feature. The rocky terrain around the small hamlet of Halesi is home to several caves and potholes with naturally occurring voids, resulting in rock formations of various sizes and shapes. In order to assess the fate and purity of pilgrims travelling through them, these narrow passageways have been given the new names paapdwara, dharmadwara, garbhadwara, swargadwara, and karmadwara. Halesi Mahadev is a remarkable geological structure that has been regarded as a mystifying heavenly sign. Hindus worship Halesi Mahadev as the great god of all gods and goddesses, the root of the Kirat religion, which began here. Buddhists revere Halesi as one of their six main pilgrimage sites.

Thus, Halesi Mahadev is recognised as one of Nepal's most mystical and spiritual destinations and is frequented by many people on their spiritual and religious quests for redemption.

Compiled By: Rebika Bishokarma

Also Read:

A Devotee’s Offering To Lord Shiva: Kailashnath Mahadev

Barahachhetra: A Famous Pilgrimage Site

Top 5 Pilgrimage Sites In Nepal

Pashupatinath Temple

Halesi Maratika

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