Heritage sites of Syangja in the doldrums

Bhawani Adhikary

Syangja, April 7:

Heritage sites in the district are getting ruined due to neglect. Intellectuals here are of the opinion that if this trend continues, it will be no surprise if these sites turn into archaeological remains. Were these sites to be conserved, it would boost tourism here and gove a good name to the district. Prominent among the neglected sites is the Siddha cave, near Reang River in Putalibazaar municipality. The cave along with a temple is situated five kilometres from Syangja. Dirgha Narayan Adhikary, a local, alleged the temple and cave were on the verge of collapse. Though people have tried to conserve and manage the temple, the government has been apathetic.

The existence of the temple became more endangered after it was damaged during the construction of the Reang River-Biruwa road some years ago. The cave, overgrown with trees and creepers, is 54 feet x 14 feet and houses innumerable statues of gods and goddesses. Large fairs are organised during Shivaratri in the cave and temple premises. Of late, however, participation has thinned. The Siddhababa area can be reached after a half-hour walk from Reang River bazaar. Pilgrims from afar come here, said Shiva Kumar Adhikary, ex-VDC chairman of Syangja. Adhikary added that the waterfall inside the cave has medicinal properties and is able to cure skin ailments. Pilgrims believe wishes are fulfilled after bathing in the waterfall and circumambulating the temple. There is a water spout just below the temple, and people believe that drinking the water from this temple relieves all the pain of travelling.

Legend has it that a sage came here to meditate and established the Siddhababa temple. Though the temple does not have a stable fund, daily work has been going on with funds collected from pilgrims. Hum Nath Adhikary, a local social worker, pointed out that the temple by virtue of its situation near the district headquarters was capable of attracting more pilgrims if it were managed and conserved. He called for a master plan for conservation of the area. Acording to Jeevan Thapa, ex-VDC chairman of Putalibazaar municipality-12, people from Nautanwa, Bhairahawa, and Butwal come for pilgrimage to the Siddhababa Dham.