opinion, Tribhuvan Wagle

Khaptad: A Place Most to Reach

-Tribhuvan Chandra Wagle

Author

On the day of 28th of Baishakh, a reserved bus was heading to Khaptad crossing the Godabari Bridge from Kailali along to Buditola, Ningladi Bridge, Khani Danda, Bhasuko Bhir; a dangerous cliff and rocky road. We literatures, journalist, writers and other more people were heading to Khaptad to take part in a Grand Literature Fest, which was going to be conducted at Khaptad. Similarly other one public bus and three private cars were also heading to Khaptad carrying dozens of Indian pilgrims, writers and poets as invited guest of Nepal Sahitya and Sanskriti Pratisthan of Kailali. I was watching innumerable bends of narrow road and speed of the bus. It was impossible to take nap in the bus surrounding by uncertain terrors in mind though it was night around 10 pm. My heart was dragged along to my family at Kathmandu; but eyes were on Sahajpur, Budar, Bhattikhola, Milchaurah and Mobile Danda. When my eyes saw some plainly area as well road around Ghanteshwar, Daldeldhura, Sahukharka, Asigram and Rowakhola a high beating heart got some slow motion.

The next early morning we reached to Chainpur of Bajhang, ending the overnight travelling of bus. The Chainpur Bazar is a historical place having the royal palaces of Raja Jayaprithvi Bahadur Singh, the first publisher of the Gorkhapatra, Humanitarian personality and known as the lighting flame of education. I paid a salute to Jaya Prithvi and Satyabadi Pathshala; a school which was founded by him in 1972 BS at Mel Lek of Bajhang as a branch of Naxal based school of Kathmandu.

A formal welcome as well farewell programme was held in Surma Devi Mandir, Jaya Prithivi Bahadur Singh Municipality-10, Chainpur focusing to the guests who were going to Khaptad. In the programme Local journalist, literatures, religious activist including women groups urged to develop to Chainpur as a socio-cultural tourism destination. Padam Lal Joshi, Chairman of Nepal Sahitya and Sanskriti Pratisthan of Kailali, coordinator of Khaptad International Padayatra and Grand Kavya Sammelan, said that such types of Padayatra and visits of writers will spread nationwide fame of Chainpur. Meanwhile Swami Bramharshi Gaurishanksra Maharaj, an invited distinguished guest of Padayatra urged to build Chainpur as a stay point between Kailash and Kailali. Binod Bhattarai vice-chair of Nepal Sahitya and Sanskriti Pratisthan of Kailali expressed the purpose of PadaYatra, Grand Kavya Sammelan and Yoga Shivir (camp) which was going to be held in Khaptad.

The late noon of Baishak 29th, we moved to Khaptad crossing the suspension bridge of Bahuligad of Seti River. Two vans were waiting in the opposite side of Seti River to carry us along to Dhauligadh. Approximately after an half hour; the van reached to Dhauligadh-Taumul of Chhainna, where a mass gathering of local people paid a warm welcome to us in Ishwor Fundamental School (a Lower Secondary School) with delicious food, Deuda dance, local folk songs and various cultural functions. Barka Bahadur Rokaya chairman of Khaptad-Chhinna Rural Municipality welcomed us, while requesting to help municipality’s plan to develop Khaptad as a pilgrim destination, tourism area and herbs research center. Locals Jeevan Rokaya, Darshan Rokaya, Sherbahadur Rokaya and Tara Thapa Rokaya urged to develop physical infrastructure in Taumul centric to Khaptad. Dhaulighat-Taumul is known as a base camp to Khaptad from the side of Bajhang route. Taumul of Chhinna; a beautiful place along with the bank of Ghatkhola, from where the actual PadaYatra to Khaptad began from the early morning of Baishak 30 for about 5 to 7 hours. The route of Taumal is consider easier to reach to Khaptad than other ways from Doti and Achham. The horse trail is not extremely stepped; some small village should be crossed. A heavy jungle makes our trip cool and happy.

At the evening of 30th Baishak, a huge team of literatures, journalist, pilgrims, local political figures including other locals, at least 150 persons reached to Khaptad from Taumul. I experienced that Khaptad was welcoming us with the heavy rain as well as hailstones. It was a wonderful feeling. I felt that we all participants forgot the pain and problem of hiking of high land. Our eyes and hearts were pleased with the huge open greenery place, nice-looking jungle and cold air of Khaptad Dham.  There are various big open-fields occurred in Khaptad area which are known as Patan. Expert of Khaptad area, Chairman of Khaptad-chhinna rural municipality Barka Bahadur Rokaya informed that there are 22 big open fields known as Patans and 52 small fields known as Dhutis\Dhuris within the huge Khaptad.

As the schedule a grand Yoga camp and a poem recitation programme were held in the peak of Khaptad. The Grand Yoga camp was conducted under the leadership of Lavdev Mishra. Number of participants took part in Yoga Shivir (camp). According to locals it was a first camp of Yoga in Khaptad peak focusing to locals by Patanjalee.  Mr. Mishra taught Yoga in Khaptad in which more than100 people joined in the campaigning. Three major functions i.e. Pada Yatra, Yoga Shibar and Kavya Smmelan were going to be held in Khapad. Coordinator Joshi had said that it was a trinity campaigning in Khaptad i.e. Pada Yatra, Yoga Shibir and International Kavya Sammelan. It was a symbol of ‘Triven’ which is a most holy place of Khaptad.

Actual Pada Yatra was started from Taumal of Bajhang whereas  the Finance Minister of Unttarakhnada, India, Prakash Panta see-off us from Dahndadhi presented the holy water of Ganga (Ganga Jaal) inaugurating the PadaYatra in 28th of Baishak.

Bramharshi Gaurishanksr Maharaj; chief guest of Kavya Sammelan and dozens of poets collectively inaugurated the International Poetry Presentation Programme lighting the candles. In the programme poets from Nepal and India recited their poem in Nepali, Hindi and English languages.

Poets Jaya Dev Bhattarai, Baba Basnet, Thakur Belbase, Jaya Raj Joshi, Dr. Renuka Solu, Dr. Aatra, Motiraj Bom, Tribhuvan Chandra Wagle, Gita Karki, Chaitanya Chetan, Sandhya Pahadi, Prollas Sindhuliya, Shashi Thapa, Ashwini Koirala, Loknath Parajuli, Gunakar Paneru Rhishikesh  Bharadhaj and other dozen of poets recited their poem on the same occasion. Novelist Yuvraj Naya Ghare paid a gratitude to the organizer. Concluding the programme, Coordinator Padam Raj Joshi and Barka Bahadur Rokaya expressed their belief that such types of constructive functions will multiply the fame and importance of Khaptad.

Where the Khaptad is situated? Where is Khaptad situated? Most of books of general knowledge cite that it is located in Doti. Khaptad is in a junction place of four districts i.e.Bahjang, Bajur, Doti and Achham. Before the restructuring of the local levels 10 Village Development Committee (VDC) of Bajhang touched to Khaptad. Similarly two, three and four VDCs of Bajur, Achham and Doti touched to Khaptad area respectively. So, we have to know that Khaptad is a junction place of four districts. It is placed in various districts. It keeps political, geographical importance along with natural resources. Khaptad National Park is spread with a total of 225sq.km but more people learnt that Khaptad is a specific religious place. It is true that Khaptad is also a religious place surrounded by heavy jungle and under surveillance of The Nepal Army. It is a place of up to 3500 meters height from the sea levels. It is believed that there are 567 species of flora and 260 of fauna found in Khaptad.

As a place of Karnali civilization: Padam Raj Joshi, student of Nepalese history, culture and archaeology, Barka Bahadur Rokaya an expert of Khaptad claimed that Khaptad is an origin place of Karnali as well as Nepalese culture and language. They also claimed that physical archaeological remains like goods and impression were found in Khaptad areas nearest to 5th century of Bikram Sambat. Having the huge open field and cultivated land, everyone can believe that Khaptad used to be a residential area at one time of history.

National park vs. Religious destination: Though Khaptad Area Development Committed has been working under the Ministry of Cultural to build it as a religious and cultural destination whereas the all area of Khaptad either religious places or jungle is observed by Nepalese Army with its rule and regulations. That’s why, the government either of at center or Province should clarify the status of Khaptad as the religious place or conservation area. There are several religious and cultural places in Khaptad, Triveni, Sahashra Linga, Khaptad Tal (pond\pool), and Ashram (Home) of Khaptad Baba, Nagh Dhunga, Bhim Ghatta, Maisthan and Khaparmanud are some holy places of Khapad.

Participants at Khaptad Baba’s Ashram, Khaptad

Image : Author

Profile image: a women collecting wheat at Daru Village of Khaptad- Chhinna, way of Khaptad/author

This post was published on  The Rising Nepal (Gorkhapatra Online)

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