Nuwakot, January 6
Thousands of people gathered in the holy site Uttargaya-Betrawai to mark Poush Krishna Aunshi yesterday.
People performed the death rituals of deceased relatives with the belief that the deceased would be offered safe passage to heaven in the afterlife.
Uttargaya-Betrawati is located on the border of Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts, about 730 metres above sea level in the northern belt of Nepal. It is a meeting point of Betragana, Rudragana and Trihsuli rivers.
The Trishuli River originates from Gosainkunda Lake, another holy spot of Hindus and Buddhists, where Lord Shiva had bathed long ago.
In a Himawot section of Skanda Khanda, it is mentioned that Lord Shiva drank poison (Kaalkut bisha) after Samundra Manthan (churning of the ocean) at Sumeru Parbat after which he travelled to Gosainkunda through Betrawati, said a bhramin, Omprakash Ghimire. “There, Lord Neelakhantha (Mahadev) dug the Betraganga River, whose waters pacified Shiva,” he said.
Ramkrisha Lamichhane, 59, of Dhading, came to Uttargaya to perform the death rituals of his deceased family members. Likewise, Krisha Prasad Bidari, 67, of Hetauda, traveled nearly 200 kilometres to the site to offer homeage to his ancestors. After carrying out Shraddha, he said the path of his ancestors to heaven had been cleared.
Similarly, a Buddhist priest Surya Lama, 60, from Tistung-Palung of Makawanpur, came here to perform the death rituals of deceased kin. Lama said Buddhist followers who were unable to visit Bodh Gaya came to Betrawati to perform death rituals.
However, construction of a hydel plant in the Trishuli River area has locals of Betrawati worried. Locals have opposed developing the Madhay Ganga Hydropower project in the area.
An interaction was organised by Uttargaya Bachau Sangarasha Sammitte today to oppose construction of the hydel plant and to support preservation of the holy site. Locals and people’s representatives participated in the programme. Lawmaker Mohan Acharya said at the programme, “The hydel plant was a threat to the holy site’s religious significance. The hydropower project would affect flow of water in the river.”
A version of this article appears in print on January 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.