Halesi Mahadev Temple is situated at the Hilly Region of the country in between the beautiful rivers Dudhkoshi to the right and Sunkoshi to the left. It is a very beautiful temple with numerous caves. People call it Pashupatinath of Eastern Nepal.
There are three main caves that represent the three eyes of Lord Shiva. Buddhists call these caves Maratika and believe that Padmasambhava (the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, the great Rinpoche) and his wife Mandarava freed themselves from the circle of lives and thus becoming immortal. Simply, this is the cave, where they received the Vidyadhara of longevity.
It is believed that inside the temple, the Halesi Cave has been used as a dwelling for 6000 years. Lord Shiva was running from the demon Bashmasur whom Shiva himself gave a boon to kill any person by putting his hand on the head of the person. The demon chased Shiva himself to kill him. Shiva fled in the Halesi caves to take shelter. While Shiva was hiding, Lord Vishnu played a trick and made the demon put his hand on his own head. Shiva fled through a hole in the ceiling of the cave. You can still see Lord Shiva’s footsteps in the air shaft and the intestines of the monster on the ceiling of the cave. After Bashmasur got killed the cave became temple. You can see a natural Shiva Linga formed by a stalagmite here.
The sacred cave that houses the two feet tall Shiva Linga is one of the popular and most important religious destination not only in Khotang but also in Nepal. The cave popularly known as Halesi Mahadev has two pillars to the northern side of the Shiva Linga that stands very close to each other making a narrow pass. It is believed that the sinners cannot pass through this narrow passage and only a confession from them shall grant them a passage through. Every year, thousands of devotees come here to worship the Lord with a belief that He could give knowledge, wisdom to the children and prosperity to the poor.
This cave is 67 feet below the surface of the land, and is both a revered religious place and a favorite tourist destination. Its entrance is shaped as a half moon and faces towards the east. It has a round shape, with a diameter of 193 feet, with a separate cave lying beneath. The floor is 223 feet in circumference.
You can catch plane from Kathmandu to Lamidanda. Remember flight service is not regular; it is 3 times a week or so. When you reach Lamidanda, find the trekking route to Halesi Mahadev Temple, it may take you 5-6 hours when you walk your way.
There is a helipad near Halesi Mahadev temple, so if you want you can go and return on the same day, but you have to charter a private helicopter and that’s not much fun. It’s fun to walk!
You can take a bus from Kathmandu to Kotari. From Kotari you can take a jeep to Ghurmi. From Ghurmi you have to walk 5 to 6 hours to reach Halesi Mahadev.
During Shivaraatri, Ram Nawami and Ganesh Chaturthi, fairs and festivities are held in the region.