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A trip to Swargadwari-the Heaven’s Door

Posted on Apr 7, 2015 by sabindangol under Tour

Tags: swargadwari,heaven,Rapti,Mahapravu, Hindu

Located over a hill top in Pyuthan district of Rapti Zone in the Mid-Western Nepal is the famous pilgrimage Swargadwari (meaning Heaven’s Door). Hundreds of people, especially Hindus, travel to this place with a belief that this is the door to Heaven and one should try to get to the Heaven to be blessed by God after his/her death. The place itself has a lot to offer to tourists from pilgrimage, amazing views of Snowcapped Mountains, lush-green paddy fields, dense coniferous and rhododendron forests, and the rural life of the Western Nepal. The area is maintained by Swargadwari Ashram Guthi which carries out daily rituals and operated the day to day activities of the Ashram.

Legends

1. Swargadwari Mahapravu proclaimed himself as the Avatara to reinstate the Dharma, Culture, yoga and to retard the unseen force of impeding catastrophe forecoming to the existing civilization. He performed Yagyas and spent all his life in this place herding and milking thousands of cows. He took his last breathe (Samadhi) in this very place and all the rituals he started have been continued by his disciples till date.

2. This place is believed to be the Taposthal where Tapasya (meditation) was performed by the Panch Pandavas during their journey in the Himalayas enroute to the Heaven. Also, this is believed to be the very place from where Yudhistir (the eldest son of Pandava) entered Heaven (Swarg) with his dog.

3. King of Gods- Indra performed Yagyan during the Satya Yuga at this place. The Temples along with the Ashram lie on the hill top (approx.2300mtrs above sea level) in Puythan Access/Transportation/Road condition

Where is Swargadwari Located?

The Temples along with the Ashram lie on the hill top (approx.2300mtrs above sea level) in Puythan District. 

Access/Transportation/Road condition

Routes:

1. Bhalubang (Daang) –Bhingri-Swargadwari

This route is the best one. Bhalubang is some 100kms west of Butwal or 360kms from Kathmandu on the East-West Mahendra Highway. You’ll get vehicles every time as this is the National Highway. Once you get down at Bhalubang, you’ll find direct buses to Swargadwari (they’ll charge around NRs.300) or else you can catch a bus to Rolpa and get down at Bhingri (70kms, 2hrs, NRs.240). At Bhingri there’s a gate welcoming you to Swargadwari. Till Bhingri the road is blacktopped. The road has lots of twists and turns so be careful enough if you vomit during travel on such roads. From Bhingri it’s 13kms till the hill top. You can hike for around 4-5 hrs enjoying the rural life and enticing views of the Jhimruk and Madi Valley or take a bus. This leg of the trip is difficult. The roads are just built and not properly maintained. There have been lots of accidents on this road. Still, there were people surveying the road for up gradation so hopefully by the end of 2015, there will be proper road to the hilltop.

2. Ghorahi (Dang)- Swargadwari: This route is very difficult. It takes around 7-8 hours and the road is very rough. You’ll need to pass through Cement factory and the road is pack with trucks/trippers of the factory. Its dusty, rough and bumpy so better not take this route.After you reach the hill top, at Dharampani, the bus park is some 400mtrs to the left while, the Ashram is on the right side. You’ll have to take around 300 steps to reach the Ashram and no vehicles can go till the Ashram so it’s a 15-20 walk for everyone. You can find horses to take you till the Ashram premises from Dharampani, which will charge NRs.200-250 per head.

Level of difficulty/ Highest Point
The hill top is at around 2300 meters above sea level, and also the route is clear, this trek has a moderate level of difficulty. You can take a bike (above150cc) or any four wheel drive vehicle to this place. There were even Hyundai I-20’s when we were there but the road is very bumpy and rough for such vehicles and you need to be prepared for any emergency.

What is there to see? What to do?
The route itself will bless you with amazing scenery of the Jhimruk and Madi Valley from the top. Also, stunning views of Snowcapped mountain ranges (Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and many more), dense coniferous and rhododendron forest, wild animals (antelopes, deer) are other things you can Inside the Ashram premises, there are lots of temples, ponds, Caves, Canteen, Dharmashalas.
Check the Every day, hundreds of students (Batukas), teachers (Gurus) and spiritual trainers, carry out holy rituals and Aakhanda Yagyans, since the time immemorial. Early morning prayers are observed when hundreds of Panditas perform Hawan and Aarati. The ritual fire which has been there for hundreds of years- Hawan is performed with pure butter-ghee for hours in tune with the Vedic Mantras. Various other activities like Kirtan and Vajan are performed daily. Laakh Batti, Rudri and other religious/holy rituals can be performed at the ashram on request. The ashram has fixed rates for each ritual. 
There’s a main temple, Gufa Mandir where daily Puja is carried out. Aakhanda Yagya Shala Mandir is where the ritual fire is burning since ages. Every evening, there’s a holy Aarati when the Jwala of the Hawan Kunda glows with pure butter-ghee pouring, don’t miss to witness that. In the evenings, people carry out Bhajan/Kirtan and dance in those holy tunes giving you a spiritual retreat. Moving uphill from the Ashram is a cave from where Mahaprabhu, the holy saint used to get to the Madi valley. Also, in between the Rhododendron forest is the Siddha-baba Temple. Also, there are a hundreds of cows inside the Ashram. The Ashram takes care of those cows and in turn manages all the day to day rituals with Milk and pure butter. Thousands of cows are seen grazing the ground below the Ashram in terraced land. You can enjoy breathtaking views of early morning sunrise over the mountains. Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu ranges are clearly seen in the morning.

Food and Accommodation

The Ashram itself manages food and accommodation for all of its visitors. There’s a counter where you need to pay for receipt of NRs.30 per bed and NRs.100 per meal. Healthy, plain meal is served in the canteen managed by the Ashram. Also, if you plan to cook your own meal, the Ashram provided firewood, utensils for your group. There are hotels/lodges near the bus park but almost all of the people stay inside the Ashram as many rituals are performed till 11 PM. 

The areas is well guarded by Nepal Army and Armed Police Force.

To dos and not to dos?

To Dos

  • Unlike other temples, there is just one single shop to buy Puja Samagri nearby the Ashram
  • People take packets of salts, flour and grains to feed the cows
  • Carry warm clothes even during the summer season as its windy and cold at the hill top
  • Pack your bags light.
  • Carry a torch light and multiplug to charge your mobile phones as there are very limited charging points.
  • Carry all your plastic waste like wrappers, bags and bottles with you and dispose them at the garbage bins 

Not to Dos
You don’t need to carry blankets for your stay. Ashram takes care of your stay.
You are not allowed to take pictures inside the temples.
Take off your shoes before you enter the temple premises.
Do not litter around.

Best/Suitable month to visit Swargadwari

People throng at Swargadwari on the first day of Baisakh (mid April). Feb-May and September-October make the best time to visit Swargadwari. As Holi was on Friday, I and a friend of mine thought of utilized the weekend to travel to Swargadwari. 

How we reached the Swargadwari

DAY 1: We left Butwal at round 8 AM to Bhalubang. The problem was to find a bus as it was Holi and there were no buses on schedule. We reached Bhalubang at round 12 PM and again we had difficulty finding a vehicle till Bingri. Though there should have been buses till Swargadwari, it was Holi and people had been waiting for buses since early morning. We left on a bus to Rolpa at around 1:30PM. We reached Bhingri at round 3PM and decided to walk uphill. Passing through the dense forests enjoying the views of Jhimruk valley, on banks of Rapti, we reached Bhingrikot at round 5PM. It was a tiring trek as we had already climbed some 10km distance. After having Wai-wai and hot tea, we hitchhiked a tractor for around 20mins till Dharmapani. It was around 6:30 that we reached the Ashram and booked our stay. We danced in the tunes of Bhajan and enjoyed the hawans and Aakhanda Yagyans in the evening. 

DAY 2: Early morning next day, we lined up for puja at the temple and then roamed around the Ashram. We were blessed with mesmerizing views of sunrise over the gorgeous Himalayan Range. We walked around the rhododendron and pine forests to the Siddha Baba temple and Caves. We hitchhiked on a tractor from Dharampani till Bhingrikot and then got a lift on a reserved bus till Bhalubang. We had issues getting on a bus at Bhalubang as the local bus operators tried to force us to get on their bus so we hitchhiked on a truck till Butwal. Nothing could have been better than this trip to Swargadwari for the weekend.

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