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Okhaldhunga

Okhaldhunga district is in the north-eastern and western part of Nepal and is a completely hilly district. It is limited to Khotang on the east, Ramechhap on the west, Solukhumbu on the north and Sindhuli and Udaipur districts on the south. This district is divided into two constituencies based on constituency. The total area of this district is 1074 sq. Km. According to the census of 2068 BS, the total population of this district is 1,47,984 consisting of 68,687 males and 79,297 females. It spreads approximately 48km east-west and 67km north-south. This literary fertile land, also known as the birthplace of the famous poet Siddhicharan Shrestha, was ruled by the AbhiravanshiGopalvanshi and Kirant dynasty kings. Before the administrative division of 2018 BS, the present Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga and Khotang districts were a part of the Okhaldhunga No. 3.

History

According to the mythology, Okhaldhunga, which is regarded as a completely hilly district because of its geographical features, was ruled by one of the popular rulers of Mithila Kingdom – King Janak. Besides this, there is also belief that Bhima from the Mahabharata entered this district and ate paddy, which was kept inside the mortar like deeply carved stone, with the help of a pestle. So, because of this reason, the name of this district was given as Okhaldhunga.

Likewise, during the ruling period of Malla, KaziBhimMalla was sent to this district from Kathmandu by King Laxmi Narsingh Malla in the course of kingdom expansion. KaziBhimMalla, with the help of his army, conquered the east and came to this place. Then, he chased away the Kiranti, who were ruling in this district and ate the looted paddy by grounding it in mortar like a big hole stone. For this reason, also, the name of this district was set as Okhaldhunga. The mortar of the big stone has been now kept safely in the Siddhicharan Park, which is in Ward No. 5 of Siddhicharan Municipality under the full safety and security of Okhaldhunga District.

Social Status

As in other districts, this district is also inhabited by different castes. Although Brahmins, Chhetris and Rais are predominant in this district, other castes like Bhujel, Magar, Sunuwar, Newar Sherpa, Kami Damari, Sarki, Gurung, Tamang etc. are also found living in this district. Thus, despite the mixed coexistence of different castes, there is religious and social tolerance. There are no social problems among the residents of this district.

Religious Status

In this district where Hinduism is predominant, Sherpa, Tamang, Rae, Gurung and other castes are found to believe in Buddhism as well as Kirat religion. Currently, there are a small number of Christians in the district. It is found that 28 churches have been built in different places of the district and Christian missionaries have come from other places to preach the religion. Even low-income communities celebrate festivals such as Dashain, Tihar, and Lhosar. A big fair is held on the day of Kartik Ekadashi in the temple of Panchakanya Devi located in Bilandu VDC of this district. Similarly, fairs are held in the temples located in different VDCs and the police have been providing peace and security in those places.

Religious Sites

The major religious area of Okhaldhunga are as follows:

  • KakaniTemple (Shri Champadevi) in Bilandu VDC Ward No. 9 of Okhaldhunga District
  • Kalika Devi Temple of Kotki in ChisankhuGadhi
  • Shattered waterfall Mahadev of Ravadolu (where hot water flows and a grand fair is held on the day of Maghe Sankranti)
  • KilkhordingGumba of Bhusinga
  • Cave of Khijikati
  • Sherpini Stone at Kakanisthan near Sallerigavis
  • Jogeshwar Mahadev temple at Dayale
  • Tinkanya Devi temple at Molly
  • Pokhara Devi temple at Pokhara VDC ward no. 9
  • Bhairavsthan in Dayalegavis
  • Singh Devi’s temple in Kuibhir VDC Ward No. 5
  • Mahadev’s temple in Thulivanshi of Kuibhir
  • Kuntadevi’s temple in Khodampa
  • Temple of Sapnavati Devi in ​​Barnalu VDC Ward No. 9
  • Raghuvireshwar Mahadev Temple in Okhaldhunga Bazaar
  • SaraswatiSthan, Kalikadevi, Jalpadevi, Bhimsensthan, VatukBhairav, Kalikadevi Temple in Varuneshwar VDC etc.

Tourist Destinations

Popular for its serene nature and charming places, Okhaldhunga has a plethora of touristy areas. Pokli waterfall (131ft.), Thamdanda and Lagalgedanda located in Pokli VDC (to explore the natural beauty), ancient mortar shaped stone kept in Siddhicharan Municipality, Siddhicharan Park (place where popular poet Siddhicharan Shrestha was born), Rumjatar (popular for sheep rearing, airway, Gurung culture etc.) are some of the must-visit places in this district. Besides this, DembaDanda also has the capacity to attract tourists as it consists of a pathway to reach Pikey Danda of Solukhumbu district via Demba through Pokli. Visitors use this route to visit Sagarmatha.

In addition, the Everest Base Camp, lap of the world’s highest peak – Mt. Everest, can also be reached via Okhaldhunga. Moreover, this district is also the perfect destination to rest and spend the night while visiting the popular Haleshi Mahadev of Khotang.

Transportation

In terms of transportation, concrete bridges are under construction at Sunkoshi in GhurmiTokselghat and Dudhkoshi in Jayaramghat of Khotang via Udaipur-Katari from the south. Ballybridge is being built during the winter and during the rainy season, people have to cross the suspension bridge and use the means of transportation. Although Rumjatar Airport is for air services, the air service is currently suspended due to blackout.

Arts and Literature

Okhaldhunga district is not only rich in religious and tourist destinations but also in Nepalese rich in arts and literature. This district is the birthplace of one of our legendary and famous poets Siddhicharan Shrestha (“मेरोप्यारोओखलढुंगा”). Likewise, Okhaldhunga is also home to Byakul Myla who composes the Nepalese national anthem. Moreover, many other great personalities like Sant Gyan Dilwas, Singer Melavadevi etc. were also born in this district.

Okhaldhunga

Economic Status

The economic condition of the district has not improved even during the 13th three-year plan. People have not been able to experience development due to lack of development in basic things like transport, electricity, communication, irrigation, education, health, drinking water etc. About 80 percent of the people in the district depend on agriculture, some in government services and other industries, trade, etc.

Fruit farming and animal husbandry are also the main sources of income for the people of this district. There are also plenty of people who make a living by carrying heavy loads. As a concrete bridge is under construction on the Sunkoshi River under the main highway connecting Okhaldhunga, Khotang and Solukhumbu districts with Terai, food and other daily necessities are expensive in the district. Also, because of the inability of agriculture and other businesses in the area, the economic condition of the people has not been able to rise above the traditional level.

Okhaldhunga district, which is 59th in position in terms of population and 68th in terms of area, is lagging in terms of development and promotion. Even after having abundant resources, this hilly remote district is failing in its utilization to make Okhaldhunga as one of the must-visit places in Nepal. I hope the government will make the proper plans and policies for its proper development and allocations.

-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal

Siddhicharan Park

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