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Growing number of pilgrims visiting Pathivara by helicopter



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By Chandra Pandak
Taplejung, Dec. 5: The number of people visiting Pathivara, a prominent Hindu pilgrimage site in eastern Nepal, by helicopter is increasing in recent years. Heli service providers – Kailash and Simrik airlines –have been catering to the devotees visiting the temple.

According to a data provided by Pathivara Temple Development Trust, almost 60, 000 visitors have visited the temple so far this year after visiting season began in September.
The holy shrine is located at the elevation of 3,794 meters on a hill in Taplejung district. People mainly from Ilam, Sunsari’s Dharan and Kathmandu have been visiting the temple by helicopter. While heli service providers have been providing the service from the three places, local hotel entrepreneur Suresh Limbu has been managing the remaining services from the district headquarters Fungling.

The temple, which remained closed for two years in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, opened its door to the visitors after this year’s Dashain and Tihar festivals. Pathivara Development Trust said that since the weather had remained favourable since the start of the season, the number of people visiting the temple was on the rise.
Manamani Kafle, Executive Director at the Temple Trust Committee, said that the number of visitors coming by helicopter had soared this season. “Visitors can offer their prayers to the Goddess Pathivara, observe the snowfall, and be enchanted by the picturesque places – all at the same time – leading to the increase in the number of visitors.”

According to him, flight services have made it easier for great many pilgrims to visit the temple. Since the start of the season, 70 flights have been made from Dharan to the temple site, said Dharan Holiday Travel and Tours, The service provider charge Rs.32000 per head for a flight from Dharan. The charge is Rs.10, 000 if a visitor flies from Fungling, Rs.22, 000 from Fidim, Panchthar and Rs.35, 000 for a flight from Illam. Even regular daily flights are available from Kathmandu.

Visitors from several districts, including Taplejung, Panchthar, Illam, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari and Kathmandu visit the holy place frequently, along with many Indian tourists from Darjeeling, Sikim, Assam, among others.