Tag Archives: Shivaratri

Chandragiri hill

When we were in Kathmandu this time, we didn’t get time to go out of valley but we still managed to go to a few places within the valley. One glorious sunny morning we started a trip to the newly opened Chandragiri Hill.

Located 16 km from Kathmandu, Chandragiri hill is in Thankot and it took us around 30 minutes to drive there. They have recently introduced cable car to the top of the hill making it good place for a family day out. We bought our tickets a few days in advance from Bhatbhateni supermarket so we didn’t have to queue up once we reached there.

When we reached the base of the hill, I was already very happy to see an amazing view of the surrounding mountains and hills. We quickly caught a cable car to the top. The ride is around two and a half kilometres long taking us around 9 minutes to reach the top.

When we reached on the top and came out into the open area, we were welcomed by the beautiful Himalayan range. The panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan range from Annapurna to Everest makes you feel as if you were seeing the whole of Nepal from this hill. I am so glad we got there early in the morning because; the view from the top was worth it.

People used to trek for hours to get to the top of this hill to watch the same view which we were lucky enough to enjoy with the new cable car ride in just a few minutes.

On top of the hill there are restaurants, a kids’ play area, a resort, a multipurpose hall and shops as well.

Once we enjoyed the view of the beautiful landscape, we decided to walk further up to the temple of Lord Shiva, Bhaleshwor Mahadev.

We prayed to the god, went around the temple and then to the nearby restaurant to have our lunch.

It was Shivaratri that day so there was only vegetarian option on the menu. We all enjoyed the lunch and kids had a good time too.

After lunch we went to the other side of the hill which is where the kids’ play area is. I was so glad that they had thought things through and had so many different things for kids to enjoy including slides, rides, see-saw, climbing robes, swings etc.

Chhori and our niece spent more than an hour there and didn’t want to leave as they were having so much fun.

We all had a great time too with the whole family and it was definitely one of the best outing place to go near Kathmandu.

If you are looking for a good escape from the city and don’t have much time in Kathmandu, this day trip is highly recommended.

If you like to hike, you can still do so using the route from Matatirtha-Chandragiri- Chitlang. This hike takes you through forest and hills offering scenic views of Kathmandu valley and through Chitlang taking around 5-6 hours to complete the entire hike.

This much for today. I will come back with more posts from Nepal soon.

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

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Maha Shivaratri

If you know Nepal, you might already know that there are lots of festivals every month. Today, we have one of those festivals and it is called Maha Shivaratri. It is believed that Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva was created by his own divine grace so this day is celebrated by Hindus with enthusiasm. Shivaratri literally means ‘ the night consecrated to Shiva’.

Maha Shivaratri is a national holiday in Nepal.

According to a legend, Parvati performed tapas, prayed and meditated on this day to ward off any evil that might befall her husband on the moonless night. Since then, Maha Shivaratri is believed to be an auspicious occasion for women to pray for the well-being of their husbands and sons. An unmarried woman prays for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. Another legend is that Shiva and Shakti married each other on this day.

There is one more legend of Shivaratri associated with Samudra Manthan, a battle between devas and asuras during which a pot of poison came out of the ocean and on the request of gods, Lord Shiva drank the poison. The poison was so potent that it changed the colour of His neck to blue. For this reason, Lord Shiva is also called Neelkanth (one whose throat is blue).

So basically this festival is in honour of the Hindu God Shiva. Today all the Shiva temples will be very busy. One of the best places to see the celebration will be Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu located on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River. There will be thousands of people from all over the world (it is regarded as one of the most sacred temples for Hindus) coming to worship Shiva during the festival.

There will be a mela the days before and after Shivaratri where people fill the roads around the temples of Lord Shiva especially Pashupatinath temple . There will be  holy men, beggars, pilgrims, children and tourists.

The night before Shivaratri, all the devotees from all over the country spend the night lightning sacred fires, singing praises of the deity, and keeping a constant vigil to greet his descent to earth, on the grassy hills around the temple to enjoy the warmth of good companionship and chatting around.

At midnight, the celebration begins officially with priests inside the temple making special offerings. Then devotees will take a dip in holy Bagamati river and start their fasting. They offer Bael leaves to Lord Shiva. They will spend the whole day singing sacred songs around the temple. As all the Sadhus are treated as guest , they will be offered free food and accommodation during Shivaratri.

Shivaratri is the only day in the year where marijuana and bhang is legal in Nepal so on this day devotees indulge in smoking them. It is believed that Lord Shiva is fond of these substances and marijuana is taken as a Prasad.

There are lost of tourists around the Pashupatinath temple on this day as there are lots of Sadhus with ash all over the body and devotees with colourful draping chanting hymns of Lord Shiva.

It is believed that if you worship Lord Shiva this day and fast by eating only vegetarian food, all your sins are forgiven. So there will be queues kilometres long in the Pashupathnath temple whole day.

Also this day, kids and youth block the road for vehicles to collect money which they use to buy bhoj in the evening. Mostly vehicles owners are happy to give a rupee or two. When I was a kid I do remember the block in our area made some of the vehicle owners angry with the kids blocking the roads.

Today I worshipped Shiva’s idol at home in the morning and took his blessings. Hope all my sins will be forgiven and we will be blessed with an awesome 2012.

Happy Shivaratri everyone!!!