- Basanta Pratap Singh
Khaptad horse riding
We suddenly encounter a fiery wield swine on our route. The next moment a herd of gorals and antelopes scamper ahead of us to tease us in the jungles.
We keep enjoying the natural beauty of surroundings and do not know how these two days passed at an elevation of 11000 feet (3300m), where Khaptad Baba’s cottage is situated in far western Nepal.
Bhajangi king Ram Jung Bahadur Singh had erected a few of the significant statues and inscriptions for Khaptad Baba here in 2003.
We were caught in a dilemma as to whether to enjoy the peaks of the Himalayas or the attractive flowers and greenery that was gently whispering into our ears.
Khaptad area gets its name and fame due to renowned Khaptad Baba, who meditated in this area for over 50 years. Now, the area falls in the Khaptad National Park which is a biodiversity conservation area.
Khaptad being the center of four districts namely Bajhang, Bajura, Accham, and Doti are extensive to an area of 225 km. The region has 12 caves, 53 small ponds, 226 species of birds, 224 types of vegetation and more than 20 types of wild animals along with rich flora and fauna.
The variety of beautiful flowers such as rhododendrons blooming with fragrance spread across the sky and by the two sides of the route make the trip fruitful enough.
The tantalizing mountain peaks and the herds of cow and buffaloes seen in the plains indeed make one simply think and realize that there cannot be another paradise-like land than this Khaptad region.
Then, suddenly I recall a social media version that was viral for some time in the past that cited, “If ever the Gods’ heaven is lost, they will come to you.” In other words, what this quotation indicates is that in case the heaven is lost then the Gods will come to Khaptad area to relish the heavenly peace and dwelling on earth.
The incredible beautiful sight of nature here also reminded me of the fact that there might not be any other place on earth which would be called a heavenly paradise except this.
It simply implies that perhaps all sorts of descriptions given about heavenly paradise must be the real description of the Khaptad area because this is the land of natural beauty and spiritual foundation, which was laid by Khaptad Baba long ago.
Therefore, the spot, which is a confluence of natural beauty and spiritually divine power, could have been narrated with full devotion in famous epics like Ramayan.
Locals enjoying the greenery and peace of Khaptad area
The ancient epics are galore with the extensive narrative of gods who disguised themselves as birds to enjoy the earthly bliss by flying across the Khaptad region.
The examples were those of Hindu god Shiva, who strolled into this region in various disguised forms of animals and human beings. This region was also the playground of sages and ascetics which are described in Arya Puran.
This region of Khaptad is so romantic to see that it is unparalleled with the paradise described in any religious epics. So, all those who reach the Khaptad region do feel the real sense of heaven and paradise.
It takes four hours’ rigorous uphill walk from Meltadi to reach the Khaptad area. But all your monotonous walk and fatigue suddenly disappear as soon as you get a glimpse of Saipal Himal.
Khaptad trek region
This region gives you incredible peace of mind and tranquility that one seeks within and without in his hectic life. The brink of Seti River all the more make your trip enchanting along with with the local palatable foods the locals offer you with smiling hospitality.
The 150-meter long Khaptad pond gives you different feelings of enjoyment. According to one of the folk myths, the Hindu god Shiva had come to this Khaptad region disguised as one of the buffaloes grazing grasses in the plains here. Then the Pandavas who had committed fratricide and caused the extermination of their clan had come here to meet with God Shiva.
Peak views from Khaptad
It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared before the Pandavas and acquitted them of their sins and turned into stone himself. Shiva also turned his ornament- the nag (snake) into a stone.
So, the villagers still worship the inanimate stones as the form of Lord Shiva, which is described in epics.
Annual carnival (celebration) is held here to allow participation of religious devotees and travelers from the vicinity of the Khaptad region.
A meeting of Chief District Officers (CDOs) of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur on Sunday…