Kathmandu, December 8
Cultural experts, historians and people from tourism fraternity stressed on identifying the route traversed by Padmasambhava, a Buddhist religious leader from Nepal, to Tibet in the eighth century. The route would attract Buddhist pilgrims from across the world to Nepal, they said.
The route and religious tourism were discussed at ‘Barbara Adams talk series -VI’, organised by Barbara Foundation.
Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche in Buddhist religion was one of the prominent followers of Buddhism, who spread Buddhist teaching in Tibet. He is also revered as the second Buddha.
Ramesh Dhungel a cultural expert and Buddhist historian, presenting his paper titled ‘The Unique Spiritual Route of Padmasambhava from Nepal Mandal to Walung Valley’ said at least three South to North routes traversed by Padmasambahava from Nepal to Tibet could be identified. The first route was far-western range originating from Dang Valley leading to Tibet through Dipayal-Doti-Tinker and Kakra Khat bypass. The second route originated from Kathmandu and ran through Nuwakot-Rasuwa-Kerung-Mustang-Sikachhe-Lasha, leading to Tibet. The third and the most important route also started from Kathmandu and passed along Namo Buddha in Kavre-Dolakha-Ramechhap-Okhaldunga-Diktel-Taplegunj and Dipta-la pass ending inTibet.
“There are hundreds of religious sites along the third route, which bear greater religious significance for Buddhists across the world. These places can be flocked by international pilgrims if proper promotional programs are introduced,” Dhungel said.
Yogesh Bhattarai Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said establishing similar routes or circuits would not only help achieve the goal of welcoming two million tourists in the country, but would make tourists stay longer in the country. “We are exploring new destinations as tourists normally do not like to visit the same place twice. We are open to support ancient routes for tourists,” Minister Bhattarai said. He also said the ministry would support and facilitate researchers to study about similar projects so that more routes could be identified.
Historian Tri Ratna Manandhar said many things remained yet be discovered about the trails Guru Rinpoche had traversed. He said Dhungel’s study was important as it combined history and geography.
“This research has shed new light in Nepali academia as Nepali education system did not combine history with geography,” he said. He added that Himalayan ranges have been attracting saints and sages from across the world and combined study of history with geography could reveal trans-border movement in the ancient period.
A version of this article appears in print on December 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.