- Devraj Subedi
Panch Pokhari is one of the top 100 destinations enlisted for Visit Nepal 2020 that constitutes five different ponds elevated at an altitude of 4,100 meters above sea level.
Panch Pokhari is located in the Thangpal rural municipality of Sindhupalchowk. Sited inside Langtang National Park, Panch Pokhari is accessible from both headquarters of Sindhupalchok, Chautara, and Melamchi Municipality.
Devotees from districts like Kavrepalanchok, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, and other districts arrive in Panch Pokhari during a major fair held on the occasion of Janai Purnima and during Purnima on November. Often called as the capital of Rhododendron due to presence of different varieties of Rhododendron, on the route to Panch Pokhari is amazing.
Cold temperature, high altitude, scent of yellow plants along the way makes the journey of Panch Pokhari even more exciting. Some visitors may even experience altitude sickness due to its high elevation.Panch Pokhari is also the source of the Indrawati River. Ponds of Panch Pokhari have their distinct names such as Bhairav Kunda, Saraswati Kunda, Ganesh Kunda, Surya Kunda, and Nag Kunda.
In Skandha Purana, Panch Pokhari has been considered as important pilgrimage as Tirtha Raj Prayag and Baad Ganga (Kurukshetra).
How to reach?
To reach PanchPokhari from Kathmandu, there is a route from Melamchi via Thangpaldhap- Bhotang. During the rainy season, the bus travels only up to Thangpaldhap only. There are plenty of hotels in Bhotang bazaar where you will have to stay. On the second day, steep climb begins up to the Panch Pokhari and along the way you can visit Mama Yangri, Dragon Cave, Haveli, Nagi Danda, and Raithaneshwari.
Some pilgrims stay in a Topkharka situated at an altitude of 3,200 meters, while others reach Panch Pokhari on the same day.
There are tents and volunteers for the relief and first aid assistance of the pilgrims suffering from altitude sickness, visiting during Janai Purnima, said Tashi Lama Hyolmo, the local body representative.
Another route to reach Panch Pokhari is from Chautara. From Chautara via Okharani, Khosra and the Langtang National Park. Pilgrims who pass through this route often reside on the Chyochyo Danda. Those who pass through this route will reach Panch Pokhari on the third day by staying in Nyosam Pati on the second day.
Jhankri dance, one of the major attractions of the PanchPokhari fair and an identity of Tamang, is what wins the heart of pilgrims. Lots of Jhakris (witch doctor) can be seen during the fair.
There is a public belief that if you perform the bathing in the ponds of PanchPokhari, you will be free from your sins and your wish will be fulfilled.
Jhakri Dirgha Bahadur Tamang says that Jhakri dance has helped a lot in the promotion of domestic tourism as some people reach there just to watch Jhakri dance. Especially, fair is held in PanchPokhari on the previous day of Janai Purnima and during Purnima in November.
The fair will be attended by Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Bhaktapur, and Kavre. Traveling is difficult because of the mountainous region. Some travelers may even need to carry the usual first aid supplies, even if they are lacking.
Despite the immense potential of tourism, infrastructure has not been developed in this area due to a lack of publicity. Another Jhankri (Shaman), Manbir Tamang said, that the number of tourists will increase if the transportation facility is developed properly. There are still many peoples who are unable to reach Panch Pokhari due to road.
There is a temple of Lord Shiva and an inscription about the holy ponds in Panch Pokhari. Legend has it that, about two thousand five hundred years ago, the famous hunter, Bumba Waiba, came to Panch Pokhari on a hunting. When he reached there, he was curious to see paddy being grown in such a snowy region. When he went near, Mahadev saw Bumba and disappeared along with his paddy cultivators.
Upon witnessing this incident, he untied the bell which was tied around the neck of his dog, hanged in the place where they disappeared, constructed a temple and returned home.
Since then, every year during Janai Purnima, a mammoth fair is held here. This pilgrimage has become very popular due to the religious belief that the worship of Lord Shiva in Panch Pokhari brings happiness and peace in the family.
It is also believed that visiting this site will bring blessings in the form of unmarried women finding their life partner like Shiva and childless parents to be blessed with children.
-RSS (All photos are taken from the Facebook page of Panch Pokhari)
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