Panch Pokhari is a group of five ponds located in Sindhupalchok district of Nepal and a religious site of Hindu significance. It belongs to Bhotang Shir in Thangpal village municipality. These ponds are located at the source of the river Indravati. Panch Pokhari is situated at an altitude of about 4100 meters above sea level. It falls in the lap of Juga Himal and Dorje Lhakpa. On the first full moon of every year, a big fair is conducted in Panchpokhari. The pond that falls in Panchpokhari is mentioned in the Skanda Purana of snowy section as crucial holy site in Nepal. This holy site is like Tirthraj Prayag and Bandgang.
This temple carries a big faith for the farmers. Farmers visit this temple with their cultivate like cucumber, milk, paddy etc. and pray in front of Lord Shiva for progress in their crops. They also ask for the heavy production of milk from cows and buffaloes and high number of cattle in their barn. Not only for agriculture problems, but pilgrims also visit Panch Pokhari with the intention of asking for children.
Origin of Panch Pokhari
The Panchpokhari temple, as mentioned in the inscription, was established by hunter Bumba Ruwa Waiba 2335 years ago. Once when he was on the way to hunt, he saw the people planting paddy in a very snowy field. When he went closer, he also saw Mahadev among the group of people. As soon as Mahadev saw the hunter Bumba Ruwa Waiba, he along with other people got disappear. After seeing all these, hunter Bumba take out the bell, which was on the neck of dog, and set up temple. At present, you can see stupa at the place where Mahadev was planting the paddy.
One can see the huge crowd in Panchpokhari especially a day before Janai Purnima and during the full moon day of Mangsir. Large number of devotees from Kavre, Dolakha, Rasuwa, Kathmandu, Dhading, Lalitpur, Nuwakot, Bhaktapur and many other districts participate in this fair. The best part about this fair is Jhakri (Shaman) dance. In order to become the Shaman, one must visit Panchpokhari. Jhankris dance by wearing their own costumes and the pilgrims take photos of them by using their mobiles and cameras. In the fair, you can find the stall full of Churpi made up of chowri milk, dhupi, and gold leaf.
Premises around Panchpokhari
Panchpokhari is surrounded by the many peaks and in the middle, you can see the combination of five ponds. From the bottom of these mountains, water bursts, flows, and results into ponds. The Indravati river is formed out of those ponds. The ponds are also surrounded by the flower garden. Locals around there believe that those flowers are planted by the gods of Panchpokhari. The blue sky and clouds appear in the ponds like mirror when weather is clear.
To take the complete round of the Panchpokhari, it takes around 1 hour. Pilgrims feel like they are above the cloud whenever they are resting in Panchpokhari because of the formation of white clouds, which look like white carpets. The higher you get, the colder the weather get, the clearer the hills and mountains are seen, and the range of Jugal mountain are observed.
Panchpokhari is the combination of five ponds, among which Saraswati Kund is the largest pond. This Kund falls in the middle of Panchpokhari. Although the depth of this kund is not measured scientifically, it is believed that it takes around 1 hours to complete a round. One of the amazing creatures found in this pond is two pairs of swans. No matter in which season you visit this place, you will always find pair of swans. There is also myth that whenever instruments or any noises are made in this area, snowfall occurs. Once the Jhankri (Shaman) of Gole caste was killed by Nag in Nag Kund so people from Gole caste don’t prefer going to Nag Kund.
Tamang has classified these five ponds as Jethi, Maili, Saili, Kaili, and Kanchi. However, other people prefer them calling as Bhairav, Saraswati, Ganesha, Surya, and Nag Kund. Pilgrims visiting Panchpokhari take the orbit of largest kund, Saraswati Kund. However, Maili pond is not visited by Shamans as they considered this kund as ghost town.
Panchpokhari, which is mostly visited by tourists during October-November, is not only popular from natural and religious point of view. It is very rich in medicinal herbs. Five native species, which are rare in the world, are found here. Dhupi, Sunpati, Bhairangpati etc. plants are found here. Similarly, plats like Barberry, Mucinosis, Cordials, Caramkurmi, Cremenozyme etc. are also found here. Besides these, 64 species of herbs like Raktachandan, Yarsagumba, Padamchal, Panchaule etc. are also found here.
Jorpati, Kathmandu is the starting point of Panchpokhari’s journey. From there, you will reach Melamchi via Jarsing Pauwa within 3 hours. Pilgrims from Sindhupalchowk and Kathmandu are especially found in this journey. You can see some foreign tourists on this trip. You will have lunch at Melamchi, then take another bus towards Tipeni. From Tipeni, the trekking journey towards Panchpokhari begins.
On the first day of trekking, you will take rest at Bhotang. You will reach there via Manekharka. The walking journey from second day gets difficult as you have to steep hill and jungle, but the charm of natural beauty will make you forget all the pain and sorrow. On the route, you can observe Haveli, Dragon Cave, Raithaneshwari, Ama Yangri, Nagi Danda and so on. After crossing Bhotang Bazaar, there is no other option but to stay in the barn. There are not many human settlements after crossing Bhotang village. You can eat noodles, potatoes and enjoy tea at cowsheds. You will pass through many suspension bridges throughout the journey. You will be following the Indravati river all the way towards Panchpokhari. The higher you go, the whiter and clearer the water of Indravati River becomes.
-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal