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Nepal’s own Kedarnath awaits facelift

NIRJANA SHARMA

BHAKTAPUR, July 11

It was twelve years ago when Bal Hari Chalise first visited the Kedarnath Doleshwar Mahadev Temple in Sipadol.
“Back then, the temple remained mostly deserted even though the main priest offered morning and evening prayers every day,” remembers Chalise, coordinator of the temple conservation committee.

Over the years, a handful of locals started visiting the temple regularly, said Chalise, a resident of Suryabinayak. It is said that after King Prithivi Narayan Shah conquered the valley, Thapas settled in Sipadol, while Newar communities lived in the area from ancient times. Likewise, Tamang community occupied the highlands surrounding the VDC.

A laidback town for many years, Sipadol suddenly came to limelight in 2009 after the head priest of Kedarnath Temple Jagat Guru Bhimashankar Linga Shivacharya Mahaswami declared the idol inside the temple as the head part of the Kedarnath Temple in India. Since then the temple has received attention from Hindus across the world, says Advocate Bharat Jangam who is also the patron of the temple.

The Jangam community settled in Taumadhi, Bhaktapur since Malla period was keen on searching the origin of the temple as the head priests of both Kedarnath temple in Haridwar and Doleshwar Mahedev here belonged to the same community.

Doleshwar Kedarnath Temple in Sipadol, Bhaktapur. The head priest of the Kedarnath Temple in India that was recently devastated by flooding has said that the two temples are part of one jyotirlinga, or pillar of light worshiped as lord Shiva. (Photo: Nirjana Sharma/Republica)

Following the massive devastation in Kedarnath, the Indian government has already declared that pilgrimage to the holy site would be opened only after three years. “In such a situation, the devotees can come here instead,” he added.

“The head priest of Kedarnath Temple has asked us to offer regular puja here in the same way they have been doing in India,” he added.
The temple conservation committee last Saturday offered special prayers as per the norms followed in Kedarnath and the puja would be performed everyday now onward.

Myth
As per the Hindu mythology, the Pandavas arrived in Haridwar to wash away their sins after killing all their relatives in the Mahabharata War. But Lord Shiva who was hiding from the Pandavas, took the form of bull. But two of the Pandava brothers, Nakul and Sahadev, soon realized that the bull was Lord Shiva and started pulling its tail. Then the bull´s head got separated and got flung away.

As per this legend, the body of the bull remained in Kedarnath but its head landed in Bhaktapur which was recovered 4000 years later.
Malla King Bhupatindra Malla renovated the temple in 1629 BS that was built in between 12th and 13th century. Kedarnath is considered one of the 12 jyotirlingas of lord Shiva. The combination of both the temples of Haridwar and Sipadol is considered one jyotirlinga.

Recovered Evidence
It is incredible to find something at the exact place as mentioned in ancient religious texts. But the research conducted for years concluded four years ago that the missing head was found in Sipadol. The Shiva Puran written by Vyas Maharishi stated that a voice from the sky was immediately heard right after the bull´s body was separated. “I will reside in the form of a bull´s body in Kedarnath and as its head in Nepalaya (Nepal),” states the religious text.

The people involved in Kedarnath Temple management recovered several documents which proved that both the temples were managed under the same government of Gadwal in ancient time.

The Shiva Linga in Doleshwar Temple is one of the biggest idols of lord Shiva recovered in India and Nepal which most closely resembles to the bull´s head shape.

– The head priests of both the temples are selected from Jangam community.
– Both the head priests have common title “Linga” after their names.

Master plan
The government first time paid attention to the place when the then Chief Secretary Madhav Ghimire came here two years ago. Realizing the religious importance of the temple, Ghimire immediately coordinated with other government offices for overall development.

The initial research has shown that the temple was built in pagoda style as the stone sculpture of the King Bhupatindra Malla recovered from the temple premise mentions so. The earthquake in 1933 BS destroyed the real structure and a small temple was built later.

However, the temple conservation committee is planning to revive it in its original pagoda style. The committee members roughly estimate that it would cost around Rs 120 million to renovate the temple.

According to Jangam, Rs 15 million would be spent to rebuild the main temple, whereas an estimated cost of erecting four other temples in the premise is Rs 2.5 million each. The remaining amount would be spent for construction of dharmashala, water and sanitation facilities for the visitors, among others.

Religious Tourist Destination
After the head priest of Kedarnath approved this temple as the head part of Kedarnath four years ago, the Indian tourists started visiting the site.
“Around 300 Indians visit the temple every month, which goes up during the month of Shrawan, and Shivaratri,” mentioned Chalise.

Advocate Jangam mentioned that the appointment of Dr Govinda Tondon as the member secretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust would help in the promotion of the Doleshwar Mahadev Temple as well.

“We feel Tondon is the right person for PADT, who will definitely promote this temple like Pashupatinath Temple,” added Jangam.
Similarly, 12 km road section that passes through Jagati-Sipadol-Kavre is also under construction. The Road Division Office, Bhaktapur aims to blacktop the road by October this year. The graveled road at present has also developed Sipadol VDC as hiking and cycling route for people.

The Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister Kishna Hari Banskota has already expressed his commitment to initiate steps for the construction of a new public vehicle route from Gaushala to Sipadol that would increase the religious tourists to the site.

Source: Republica Daily

Link: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=57614

Published on 2013-07-11 04:06:29
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About nirjanasharma

Journalist.

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