How o go to Pathibhara?

Raju Nepal

Nepal, a Hindu country with more than 80 percent has temples of different gods and goddesses at every footstep. One of those many temples are Pathibhara Devi temple located at Eastern Nepal, Taplejung which is popular among the devotees for making their wishes come true.
How to go to the temple?
To reach the temple from Kathmandu, capital city of Nepal, you need to travel to Charali which is 627 kilometers from Kathmandu towards Eastern Nepal. Charali is 4 km ahead of Birtamod. From Charali, you need to take a left turn towards Illam. After passing through Fikkal, Illam Bazaar Fidim and Taplejung Bazaar, you reach Suketar airport. The airport which is at the distance of 10 km from Taplejung Bazaar, is currently under construction and is expected to be functioning by the beginning of 2012.
Till Suketar airports, which is about 240 km from Charali, there are roadways for vehicles with high ground clearance like SUVs and trucks. People can also rent vehicles with seating capacity of 15 people from Birtamod to Suketar airport and back at about Rs 30,000. At Suketar, there are hotels, lodges and facilities for food and drinks. Rent per room ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 600 which is not very expensive in comparison to that of other places in Nepal. But there is scarcity of water, hygiene can be a problem.
There is no electricity supply in the area. People have harvested some solar power at low scale but charging mobile phones and other electric devices can still be a problem. From Suketar, you can see Pathivara hill and Kanchanjunga mountain range clearly if the weather is preferable. Roads have been constructed up to some distance ahead of Suketar but because the roads there are seasonal, they cannot be relied upon.
To reach temple from Suketar, you need to walk all the way through places like Deurali, Sebaro (Sebaro means Namaste in Limbu language), Terse Deurali, Chata Chwok, Tallo Fedi and Mathillo Fedi.
From Suketar to Deurali, the roads are comfortable, easy to trek and the time consumed at normal pace is about 1.5 hours. From Deurali it takes about 1.5 hours to reach Sebaro Chowk with similar geographical areas and road conditions. Terse Deurali is nearly about 1 hour more from Sebaro Chwok. After one more hour of trekking, you can reach Tallo Fedi. These 5 hours of walk is a treat to those who like natural beauty and are interested in photography. People who are lucky can see Red Pandas on the way. Food and water is available at different places and there are shops for tea and snacks. Two years down the line, roadways will be constructed to Tallo Fedi according to the locals in the area. There are few lodge and hotels in the area as well.
From Tallo Fedi to Mathillo Fedi, the roads are tougher than before. Steps roughly made up of stones are on the way. There are fewer shops for tea and other requirements. After 2 hours of trekking, you can reach Mathillo Fedi. Devotees should stay one night at Mathillo Fedi to avoid hectic walk and body aches. Mathillo Fedi has capacity of adjusting and feeding about 1000 people every night.
Way from Mathillo Fedi to the temple is not everybody’s cup of tea. After walking uphill for about 3 hours, you can reach the temple. You need to buy everything related to Puja including animals for sacrifice and drinking water at Mathillo Fedi because there are no shops or places to buy after that.
Smaller temples are seen on the way on which devotees offer money. Thread strands along the roads goes all the way to the temple which was tied by devotees. Now, devotees are not allowed to tie threads to roadside trees and bushes.
Even though the temple is located at the altitude of 3800 meter, the area is full of trees because of which, the travelers will not feel any kind of altitude sickness.
What to carry for the trip?
Devotees should carry warm clothes along with them because the climate of the place is usually cold due to high altitude. Apart from that, comfortable shoes to walk, walking stick, torch light, toilet paper, drinking water and some medicines for headache and body aches are necessary.
Typical Nepali food is available throughout the trip in a reasonable rate. However, meat products are quite expensive. After worshipping, people can come back to Suketar on the same day. It takes two more days to reach Kathmandu from Suketar if you are travelling on roadways but if you take flight from any airports of Eastern Nepal, it might be possible in a day.