Himalayan News Service

Pyuthan, May 13:

There is a drastic fall in the number of tourists and pilgrims in Swargdwari, one of the most potential tourist spots in mid-west region, this year. Pilgrims hesitate to visit this famous religious place due to increasing Maoist atrocities, said an official at Swargdwari Ashram.

Every year thousands of Hindu pilgrims,

including the foreigners, thronged this religious place for a fair on full moon day of Baishak.

But the number of tourists and pilgrims fell down drastically this year. "Not only the number of Nepali and Indian pilgrims but tourists from other parts of the world has also gone down this year, said Swami Raghunandan Giri of Ashram.

On every full moon of Baisakh, thousands of pilgrims used to gather here to celebrate

the festivities but this year only around 5000 people visited the fair. Among them

the number of Indian tourists was not more than fifty.

According to the Hindu epic Mahabharat, five Pandav brothers were believed to

have gone heaven through this way thus the place is called Swargdwari, the gate to the heaven.

The government and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) have to work out a package to renovate and preserve this place of religious importance which can be one of the hot tourist spots in the mid-west region.

Due to security reasons, the number of Indian tourists is decreasing these days, said Giri.

The Ashram is located at the altitude of 2100 feet above sea level and is three hours from Mahendra highway.