PALPA: The Siddhababadham located along the bank of the Kaligandaki river is quickly transforming into a destination for domestic as well as foreign tourists.
The Siddhababadham among other features of religious and tourist significance at Bhujat of Rampur Municipality – 13 are developing into tourist attractions. The famed pilgrimage site of Siddhababadham is fast growing in importance in terms of religious and tourist aspects coupled with the varnish of the splendour of the raging river and the resonant splashing and crackling noise of water beating against the rocks and boulders, according to social worker, Ekraj Aryal.
The Rampur Municipality too has chipped in with a show of passion by announcing its intent to develop and promote Siddhababadham. The municipality wants to turn it into a tourist destination, Municipality’s Executive Officer, Thaneshwor Parajuli said.
The municipality has constructed a terminal for facilitating the tourists and announced Siddhababadham as one of ten tourist destinations in the municipality.
On the night of June 2, 1994 (Asar 15, 2051 BS), local villager, Dinesh Adhikary, dreamed of a statue of Siddhababa emerging from the riverbank, and the very next day he let superstition get the better of him, and went to the river bank. To his astonishment he found the Siddhababa’s statue at the riverbank, Local Temple Management Committee Chairman, Saroj Adhikari confided. Since then the local villagers have been conserving the area and now have been successful in developing it into a tourist destination.
Up until mid December this year, more than 20,000 tourists including 150 foreigners have visited the temple, Committee Secretary, Pitamber Basyal shared.
The visitors’ arrival has not only helped promote the tourist site but also given a boost in upgrading the economic status of the local villagers, who have now taken to cultivating vegetables and animal husbandry, local resident, Trilochan Adhikari shared.
Recently, 108 Hindu God Shiva’s lingas were constructed around a temple of Hindu Goddess Durga located near the cave.
The Kaligandaki river is located at the northern section of the temple premises; the Pipalpata community forest lies in the west and a lush green pasture at the north-west section.
“We have plans to publicize the area as a model tourist destination in the country and draw at least 200 visitors on a daily basis,” said Temple Management Committee Chairman, Adhikari.
The temple area is abuzz with a special mela – a carnival – taking place alongside the visits by thousands of Hindu devotees during the annual great festival of Shivaratri. In recent times, it has become a favourite location for people looking for a picnic spot. During the winter in particular, groups of people from neighbouring districts of Palpa, Syangja, Tanahun and Nawalparasi come for picnic here.