Baraha Kshetra

Baraha Kshetra
Baraha Kshetra

Barahachhetra (otherwise known as Barahakshetra or Varahakshrata in Nepali) is an ancient Hindu and Kirat pilgrimage site, situated between the confluence of Koka and Koshi rivers in Sunsari’s province No. 1, Nepal. It is a revered shrine mentioned not only in Brahma Purana, Varaha Purana and Skanda Purana but also glorified within the Mahabharata epic. Herein lies Vishnu’s incarnation-Varah which makes it one of Nepal’s most sacred Char Dhams!

Biratnagar in the Eastern region of Nepal is home to an important pilgrimage shrine for Hindus. Here, situated at the junction between Sapta Oshi and Koka rivers, stands a glorious white temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu with its unique Shikara architecture style depicting Him as Varaha Boar incarnation. Every year many pilgrims from near and far flock here to pay homage; particularly during Makara Sankranti when it takes on a festive atmosphere! As legend has it, Lord Vishnu appeared in His 3rd avatar – Satya yoga – here in order to vanquish evil demon Hiranyakashapu. The Bhu Varaha Swamy temple, a holy place of Hindu Vaishnavite worshipers who flock here to pray to Lord Vishnu. At this site are the converging point of seven tributaries that form the mighty Saptaoshi river. The shrine is decorated with sculptures dating back as far as from the 5th century and there lies an iconic stone in front used for testing one’s purity – if you succeed at lifting it, then you can be sure your soul is free from sin!

Kumbmela, a joyous celebration that takes place every twelve years, draws in pilgrims from all corners of the world. After paying homage to Lord Vishnu at his temple, adventurers can then explore temples dedicated to Busha Subba and Dantakali nearby in Dharan.

Situated a mere 5 kilometers northwest of Dharan in the Sunsari District, the original temple at Barahachhetra was restored to its present state by Juddha Shamsher after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1990 BS. This well-preserved complex houses nine temples dedicated to Laxmi, Panchayan and other deities along with many hospices. Furthermore, archaeological excavations have uncovered statues here that are over 1500 years old!

People from far and wide make their way to Barahachhetra during special fetes organized for occasions such as Kartik Purnima and Makar Sakranti. For example, Indians typically come in November/December while Nepalese generally visit in January. Moreover, a huge number of pilgrims gather on Rishi Panchami, Byas Panchami, Fagu Purnima and other Ekadashis or fasting days; this constant stream of visitors makes each day feel like an event!

Lord Vishnu, assuming the form of Varaha or Baraha, prevented our planet from sinking into Patala (underworld) with his colossal tusk. After this heroic deed was done, he and wife Laxmi found themselves seated at the bank of Koshi River situated in the lap of Himalayas and hills. It is thanks to this momentous occasion that we call it Varahal today; they say there exists a majestic image of Lord Vishnu’s Baraha incarnation here as well!

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