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Sano Hattiban Kirat Manghim

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Introduction to Sano Hattiban Kirat Manghim

Kirat Manghim, the Kirats’ sacred shrine, is located in Sano Hattiban forest, in a peaceful and natural environment. Located in Lalitpur Metropolitan City Ward No. 23, this temple is very important from religious, natural and historical point of view. On the eastern side of Hattiban, there is the Karmanasa River flowing from the south to the north, and it is said that the Mahadev River used to flow to the west in ancient times.

Background of Sano Hattiban

In ancient times, along with the development of settlements in the valley, chemical fertilizers weren’t in use for farming in the agricultural land of this area. Instead, black soil suitable for farming was found in the southern part of this Hattiban forest area, and this soil was used for cultivating crops like rice, wheat, and potatoes in the areas of Gwarko, Baafal, Bhelpa, and Khumaltar. According to local elderly citizens, the use of black soil of this Hattiban forest area as fertilizer, was in practice till the year 2020 B.S. As time passed, it is said that the black soil used for farming was gradually dug out, leading to the formation of Mahadev River in the present location.

Although various myths and stories about Hattiban exist, there isn’t a widely recognized historical account regarding its naming. It is said that it may have been named Sano Hattiban (translates to: small elephant forest) because of its wide area which roughly resembles with the shape of an elephant. Thus, being identified as Sano Hattiban.

Although Hattiban is a natural heritage of this region, its preservation does not seem to have been done since ancient times. The locals here used this forest primarily for grazing and firewood, which is why the existence of this forest was on the verge of extinction. Every year during the month of Asar (third month in the Nepali Calendar), before starting the paddy plantation, the local Chhetri people of the Dhapakhel region perform forest worship (ban puja) by sacrificing a goat in this forest, offered by Guthi.

At the time when the existence of the forest was on the verge of destruction due to rapid urban development in Kathmandu and Lalitpur, the Kirat community used to worship and pay reverence to this forest every year on the full moon days of Baisakh and Mansir as a form of land worship.

This forest was officially renamed as the Kirat Dharmik Ban (Kirat Religious Forest) after the year 2058 B.S. In the upper part of this forest, the Kirat community has established the Kirat Manghim Puja Ghar (Kirat ManghimTemple). Outside the temple, a resting place has been created for all people, while inside the temple, the Kirat community worships their clan deities.

Special festivals and worship ceremonies take place here during special occasions like Ubhuali, Udhauli, Chandi Purnima, and Mansir Purnima. For daily worship and puja inside this manghim, a priest from the Limbu community is kept and Sano Hattibn Kirat Maṅghim Management Committee is in charge of the conservation and development of this forest. To protect the forest, barbed wire fences have been placed all around the area. Stone stairs have been constructed to reach the temple. This forest serves as a suitable destination not only from a religious and cultural perspective but also for tourists and as a picnic spot.

Manghim History and Kirat Culture

In the Limbu language, “Maang” refers to a deity, and “Him” means home. Therefore, the term “Kirat Manghim” signifies the house where deities of Kirats live.

Idols are not worshiped in the Kirat community. Therefore, earlier there was no practice of making a permanent Manghim (house where the deity resides) in the Kirats and performing daily worship by the priest. As a result, there was no permanent Devasan (place where deity reside) of any kind. However, they had a practice of worshipping nature which is why you will find this temple situated in between the Sano Hattiban forest area as the Kirat community believes in worshipping the nature.

The history reveals that after the year 2007 B.S, people around the Hattiban forest area cut down the trees of the forest, and the place, which was traditionally a place of pilgrimage for the Kirats, became deserted.

Around 2012 B.S, when King Mahendra saw the deserted hill and asked what it was, he found out that it was the Kirats’ pilgrimage site, and he emphasized that the kingdom should also protect the forest where the Kirats worship. Consequently, the government initiated efforts to protect the sacred forest, emphasizing tree plantation programs.

During that period, the Kirat population was less, and they practiced nature worship, which did not involve a permanent temple or deity’s abode. Recognizing the threat that Kirat’s religious sites might vanish from the attention of the government and the community, people from Sano Hattiban area took the initiative to construct the Kirat Manghim.

Daily Worship

Although Manghim was built much earlier, it was only after 2037 B.S. ‘Sangbe’ meaning nine-storey Devasan was built in that place and regular worship and Puja was started. In order to perform daily worship, a decision was made to provide food and livelihood to the priest, and the temple was equipped accordingly. Today, daily worship is conducted at this site.

Inside the temple is an urn of “Yuma”. In Kirat language “Yuma” means “Mother” or Goddess Parbati is also called Yuma. The priest starts the daily ritual by first changing the water of this urn and then adding “Dubho”, “Teetepati” and some flowers in the urn. Additionally, in the evening, there is a practice of performing daily “Arati” by the priest at the temple.

Temple Complex

After climbing a few steps from the road, one can find the Kirat Manghim in the middle of beautiful green forest which makes this temple even more attractive. Upon closer inspection, it reveals a unique architectural style that resembles Pagoda Style but with certain distinctive differences. Unlike other temples, you can find “Tamako Gagri” (vessel made of copper) atop the temple’s pinnacle. The Kirat community holds profound reverence for nature, ancestors, and mothers, which is why you will find Tamako Gagri, representing “Yuma” (mother), placed in its pinnacle.

Within the temple premises, various resting spots have been created for the devotees. Here, visitors can not only witness the temple and perform rituals but can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere as well as engage in meditation.

Different Devasanas and rituals

Different ethnic groups within the Kirat community have their distinct deities and worship practices, which can be observed within the temple. When Kirat Manghim was established, all Kirat ethnic groups used to worship a single Devasan.Although Kirat religion is the same, different ethnic groups in Kirat religion speak different languages and have their own unique cultures. To preserve the diversity of cultures within the Kirat community, the practice of worshiping different deities and using distinct rituals for different ethnic groups was initiated.

For instance, the Thakkyu (Limbu) community worships the “Phandakfa Sangbe,” meaning the nine-storied Devasan. Likewise, the Kirat Yakha community worships a separate deity in the same shrine which is on one side of the nine-storied Devasan. The Kirat Rai community worships mud stove (Chulho) which is on the other side of nine-storied Devasan, as it is their ancestral deity. In the present day, right behind the nine-storied Devasan, the Kirat Sunuwar community also has their separate Devasan.

Thus, Kirat Manghim is a significant Kirat pilgrimage site where different Kirat ethnic groups worship different deities and conduct separate rituals, allowing them to preserve their unique cultures while sharing a common religious place.

Yakwa Puja and Chasok Puja

Since a long time, the Kirats have been continuously performing Yakwa Puja before planting the crops and Chasok Puja after the crops are harvested. In this way, according to Kirat tradition, Yakwa Puja, which is performed before the planting of crops, first started in the month of Chaitra in 1905 B.S. People used to visit Sano Hattiban forest area on the day of Yakwa Puja and Chasok Puja every year.

Before the Kirat Manghim was established, the place where Kirats used to worship was a separate small area fenced with bushes, in the forest located at Hattiban. Near this area, 20-25 small stones were brought from the river, and were given the name of Kirat deites, and near the stone, urns (ceremonial pot) were kept above the plate of rice, and lamps were lit for worship. After worshiping, the stones were returned to the river.

The Rai and Limbu communities living in the Kathmandu Valley have been performing Yakwa Puja and Chasok Puja continuously for many years. Likewise, it is believed that it rains on the very day after performing these Pujas. These rituals were an integral part of their cultural and religious practices.

In the context of Yakwa Puja, an interesting custom was followed. Initially, as part of an informal tradition, each household would collect funds by contributing a certain amount. Those who couldn’t contribute money would provide ‘chicken as their offering. It was a rule that any number of people could go from a single house, but it was customary for everyone to go with 1/1 mana (Traditional measuring unit in Nepal) of rice, regardless of their age. This practice continued as it helped to maintain unity, harmony and brotherhood among the Kirat community. These customs and traditions played a crucial role in maintaining the sense of togetherness and cultural identity within the Kirat community.

In the Kirat language, Yakwa means seeds. Before planting the seeds on the ground, this puja is performed by asking permission from ancestors/nature to plant the seeds; remembering the ancestors/nature and offering prayers for good weather and good harvest. There is also a practice of worshiping the land to increase its fertility. It’s a way of connecting with nature and seeking blessings for a successful agricultural season.

After the plants have grown, the Chasok Puja is performed. In this ritual, the first harvest or produce is offered to God or the ancestors before consuming any of it. This practice is a way of showing gratitude and respect for the blessings received and ensuring that the first fruits go to the ancestral spirits. It’s believed that, this act will bring continued prosperity and abundance of crops to the community.

Both Yakwa and Chasok Pujas are deeply rooted in Kirat culture and reflect the significance of agriculture as well as the relationship between humans and nature in their way of life.

Read Stories of heritages of Nepal …


Manjul Yakthumba

Former CDO, Lalitpur

सानो हात्तीवन किरात माङहिम


हात्तीवन, ललितपुर महानगरपालिका वडा नं २३ को सिमाना सातदोबाटो गोदावरी सडकको दक्षिणतर्फ सडकसँगै पूर्व पश्चिम लाम्चो आकारमा एउटा सानो पहाडको रुपमा बिच फाँटमा परापूर्वकालदेखी प्राकृतिक सौन्दर्य बोकेर फैलिएको छ। हात्तीवनको पूर्वतर्फ, दक्षिणबाट उत्तर बग्ने कर्मनासा रहेको छ भने पश्चिमतिर परापूर्वकालमा महादेव खोला बग्ने गरेको भनाई रहेको छ।


सानो हात्तीवनको पृष्ठभूमि


परापूर्वकालमा उपत्यकामा वस्तीको विकास भएसँगसँगै यहाँको खेतीयोग्य जमिनमा खेती किसानी गर्न रासायनिक मल भन्ने नै नभएको समयमा यस वनको दक्षिणी भुभागमा खेतीको लागि मल लाग्ने माटो कालो माटो पाइने र त्यही माटो जमिन मुनि खनी यस क्षेत्रको ग्वार्को, बाफल, भेल्पा, खुमलटारमा मलको रुपमा प्रयोग गरि धान, गहुँ, आलु लगाइने गरेकाले यो चलन वि.सं. २०२० साल अघिसम्म रहेको स्थानिय बुढापाकाहरुको भनाइ रहेको छ। यसरी कालान्तरमा कालो माटो झिक्दै जाँदा महादेव खोला आजको स्थानमा सरेको भन्ने भनाइ रहेको छ।


हात्तीवनको बारेमा विभिन्न किम्बदन्तीहरु पाइए तापनि यसको नामाकरण बारे कुनै इतिहास देखिँदैन। हात्तीजस्तो लाम्चो आकारमा फैलिएको कारणले यो नामाकरण भएको हुनसक्ने भनाइ रहेको छ। यसलाई  सानो  हात्तीवनको नामबाट पनि परिचय दिइएको छ।


हात्तिवन यस क्षेत्रको प्राकृतिक धरोहर भए तापनि यसको संरक्षण परापूर्वकालदेखी नै भएको देखिँदैन। यहाँका स्थानियहरुले घाँस, दाउराको लागि मात्र यो वनको प्रयोग गर्ने गर्दथे। जसकारण यस वनको अस्तित्व विनासतिर गैरहेको थियो। प्रत्येक वर्ष रोपाइ सुरु हुनुभन्दा अघि धापाखेल क्षेत्रका स्थानीय क्षेत्री जातीहरुले  गुठीबाट यस वनमा बोका बलि समेत दिई वन पूजा गर्ने चलन रहेको छ।


वनको अस्तित्व नै विनासतिर गइरहेको समयमा  काठमाण्डौ, ललितपूरमा यत्रतत्र बिस्तारै वस्ती विकास गरेका किँरात जातिले यस वनमा भूमिपूजाको रुपमा हरेक वर्ष वैशाख पूर्णिमा र मंसिर पूर्णिमामा पूजाआजा र आराधना गर्ने चलन रहेको थियो।


यो वन विं.सं. २०५८ सालपछि किरात धार्मिक वनको नाममा परिणत भएको छ। यो वनको माथिल्लो थुम्कोमा किँरात माङहिम पूजाघर मन्दिरको स्थापना गरिएको छ। मन्दिरको चारैतिर मानिसहरुको लागि विश्रामस्थल बनाइएको छ भने मन्दिरभित्र किरातहरुको कुल देवता राखिएको छ। यहाँ उभौली, उधौली, चण्डीपूर्णिमा, मंसिर पूर्णिमा जस्ता पर्वहरुमा विशेष मेला, पूजाआजा हुने गर्दछ। दैनिक पूजापाठको लागि लिम्बू जातिको पुजारीको व्यवस्था गरिएको छ र यस क्षेत्र संरक्षण र संवर्धनको लागि सानो हात्तीवन किरात माङहिम व्यवस्थापन समिति रहेको छ। वनको संरक्षणको लागि चारैतिर तारजाली लगाइएको छ। मन्दिरसम्म पुग्न उपयुक्त ढुङ्गाको सिँढिहरु बनाइएको छ। पौराणिक र धार्मिक दृष्टिकोणले मात्र नभई पर्यटकीय तथा वनभोजको लागि समेत उपयुक्त गन्तव्यको रुपमा यो वन रहेको छ।


माङहिमको इतिहास किरात संस्कृति

लिम्बू भाषामा ‘माङ’ भनेको देवता र ‘हिम’ भनेको घर हो। यसर्थ, किरातहरुको देवता बस्ने घरलाई किरात माङहिम भन्दै आइएको हो।


किरात समुदायमा मूर्ती पूजा गरिँदैन। जसकारण, पहिले पहिले किरातहरुमा स्थायी रुपमा माङहिम (देवता बस्ने घर) बनाई पुजारीद्वारा नित्यपूजा गर्ने प्रचलन नभएकाले त्यहाँ कुनै पनि किसिमको स्थायी देवासन बनाइएको थिएन। किरात धर्मावलम्बीहरुले प्रकृतिलाई पुज्ने गर्दछन् जसकारण पनि तपाईँहरुले यो माङहिम जङ्गलबिच रहेको पाउनुहुन्छ। इतिहासलाई हेर्ने हो भने, वि. सं. २००७ साल पश्चात् हात्तीबन वन क्षेत्र आसपासका मानिसहरुले  त्यहाँ जङ्गलका रुखहरु काटेर लगेपछि परम्परादेखि किरातहरुको तीर्थस्थल रहिआएको त्यो ठाउँ उजाड भएको थियो। जसपश्चात वि. सं २०१२ तिर राजा महेन्द्रले उजाड डाँडा देखेपछि त्यो के हो भनी सोध्दा किरातहरुको तीर्थस्थलका भन्ने थाहा पाई किरातहरुले पूजाआजा गर्ने वनलाई राज्यले समेत संरक्षण गर्नुपर्ने कुरामा जोडदिँदै उहाँले पुन वृक्षरोपण गराई त्यहाँ पहिलाजस्तै हराभरा जङ्गल पारिदिनु भएको हो।


त्यतिखेरको समयमा किरातहरुको जनसङ्ख्या पनि कम भएको र उनीहरुले प्रकृति पूजा गर्ने भएकाले कुनै स्थायी देवासन पनि थिएन। त्यसो हुँदा किरातहरुको धार्मिकस्थल राज्य र समुदायको आँखाबाट ओझेल पर्ने खतरा महसुस गरि सानो हात्तीबन धार्मिक वनस्थित  किरात शैलीको माङहिम र विभिन्न संरचनाहरुको निर्माण भएको हो।



किरात तिर्थस्थल सानो हात्तीवनमा परम्परादेखि पूजाआजा गरिआएतापनि, वि. सं.  २०३७ सालपछि मात्र त्यस पुजास्थालमा ‘साङ्भे’ अर्थात नौ तले देवासन निर्माण गरि नित्यपूजा गर्न थालियो। नित्यपूजा गर्नका खातिर रासनपानी र पारिश्रमिक दिने निर्णय गरि त्यस माङहिममा पुजारी राखियो। हिजोआज भने यहाँ दैनिक रुपमा नित्यपूजा हुने गर्दछ।


मन्दिरभित्र युमाको एउटा कलश छ। किरात भाषामा “युमा” भनेको “आमा” हो अथवा पार्वतीलाई पनि युमा भनिन्छ। पुजारीले दैनिक रुपमा बिहान सर्वप्रथमत: त्यस कलशको पानी फेरेर, कलशमा दुवो र तितेपाती साथै फुलहरु राखेर पूजा गर्ने चलन रहेको छ। साथै बेलुका भने पुजारीद्वारा नित्य आरती गर्ने प्रचलन रहिआएको छ।


मन्दिर परिसर

रोडदेखि केही माथी सिढीहरु उक्लिएर गएपछि, हरियालीले भरिपूर्ण जङ्गलबिच किरात माङहिम रहेको पाउन सकिन्छ जसले गर्दा पनि यस मन्दिरलाई थप आकर्षक र रमणिय तुल्याएको छ। झट्ट हेर्दा प्यागोडा शैलीझैं देखिए तापनि यो मन्दिर आफ्नै एउटा छुट्टै शैलीमा निर्माण गरिएको छ। अन्य मन्दिरभन्दा फरक, यस मन्दिरको गजुरमा भने तामाको गाग्री देख्न सकिन्छ। किरातहरुले प्रकृति, पितृ र आमालाई असाध्यै श्रद्धापूर्वक पुज्ने गर्दछन्। त्यसैले, मन्दिरको गजुरमा ‘युमा’को कलश भनी तामाको गाग्री राखिएको पाइन्छ।


यस मन्दिर परिसरमा भक्तजनहरुका लागि भनेर बस्ने ठाउँहरु बनाइएको छ। जहाँ गएर भक्तजनहरुले मन्दिरको दर्शन, पूजापाठ साथै त्यहाँको शान्त वातावरणको आनन्द साथ साथै ध्यान साधना समेत गर्न सक्छन्।


देवासन र पूजाविधि

मन्दिरभित्र नियाल्दा त्यहाँ फरक फरक किरात जातिले पूजा गर्ने फरक फरक देवासन रहेको देख्न सकिन्छ। माङहिम स्थापना भएको समयतिर किरात भित्रका सबै जातिले एउटै देवासनमा नै पूजा गर्ने प्रचलन थियो। किरातहरुको धर्म एकै भएतापनि किरातभित्रका फरक जाति अनुसारले फरक फरक भाषा बोल्ने र सबै जातिको पृथक सस्कृती रहेको छ। जसले गर्दा सबै जातिको संस्कृतिलाई जगेर्ना गर्ने उदेश्यले यसरी फरक फरक देवासन बनाई पूजा गर्ने प्रचलन थालिएको हो।


यहाँ किरात थाक्युङ (लिम्बू) जातिले पूजा गर्ने ‘फाङ्दाक्फा साङभे’ अर्थात नौ तले देवासन छ। जसको एकातिर छेउमा किरात याक्खा जातिले पूजा गर्ने छुट्टै देवासन छ भने अर्कोतिर किरात राई जातिले पूजा गर्ने चुल्हो रहेको छ। राईहरुले चुल्होलाई पितृदेव मानेर पूजा गर्दछन्। अहिले भने नौ तले देवासनको ठिक पछाडि किरात सुनुवार जातिले पूजा गर्ने अर्को एउटा देवासन पनि रहेको छ। यसरी किरातभित्रै पनि फरक फरक किरात जातिले फरक फरक देवासन र छुट्टा-छुट्टै पूजाविधिद्वारा पूजा गरिने महत्वपूर्ण किरात तिर्थस्थल, किरात माङहिम हो।


यक्वापूजा र चासोकपूजा

परापूर्वकालदेखि नै किरातहरुले निरन्तर रुपमा बालीनाली लगाउनुअघि ‘यक्वापूजा’ र बालीनाली पाकेपछि ‘चासोकपूजा’ गर्दथे। यसरी सानो हात्तीवनमा किरात राई, लिम्बुहरुको परम्परा अनुसार बालीनाली लगाउनुअघि गरिने यक्वापूजाको सुरुवात वि.सं. १९०५ को चैत्र महिनामा भएको थियो। वर्षमा एक-एक पटक ‘यक्वापूजा’ (उभौली) र ‘चासोकपूजा’का (उधौली) दिन भने सानो हात्तीबन वन क्षेत्रमा अहिले किरात माङहिम रहेको ठाउँमा गएर पूजा गर्ने गरिन्छ। त्यहिँ नजिकै खोलाबाट २०-२५ वटा स-साना ढुङ्गा ल्याई देवताको नाम पुकारेर ढुङ्गा नजिकै थाल माथि चामल, कलश राखी, दियो बत्ती बालेर पूजा गरिन्थ्यो। त्यसरी पूजा गरिसकेपछि भने ती ढुङ्गाहरुलाई पुन: खोलामा नै फर्काइने प्रचलन थियो।


काठमाण्डौँ उपत्यकामा रहेका राई, लिम्बुहरुले निरन्तर रुपमा हात्तीबनमा यक्वापूजा र चासोकपूजा वर्षै पिछे गर्दथे। यसरी वर्षेनी पूजा गर्दा, पूजा गरेकै दिन पानी पर्छ भन्ने जनबिश्वास समेत रहिआएको छ।


यक्वापूजाको सन्दर्भमा रमाइलो कुरा के छ भने, पहिले पहिले यक्वापूजाको लागि अनौपचारिक रुपमा भेला भएर प्रत्येक घरबाट पैसा सङ्कलन गरिन्थ्यो। पैसा दिन नसक्ने घरले एउटा कुखुरा लानुपर्ने हुन्थ्यो। एक घरबाट जतिजना पनि जान पाउने नियम थियो तर ठुलो-सानो जो भए तापनि सबैले १/१ माना चामल लिएर जानुपर्ने प्रचलन थियो। किरात समुदायबिच एकता, सद्भाव र बन्धुत्व कायम गर्न यस प्रचलनले मद्दत पुर्‍याउने हुँदा यस प्रचलनले  निरन्तरता पाइरहेको थियो।


किरात भाषामा यक्वा भनेको बिउ बिजन हो। जमिनमा बीउ रोप्नुभन्दा अगाडि पितृ/प्रकृतिलाई सम्झेर बीउ रोप्नका लागि अनुमति माग्ने साथै घामपानी र अन्नबाली राम्रो हओस् भन्ने मनोकामना साथ यस पूजा गरिन्छ। जमिनको उब्जनी शक्ति बढी हओस् भनेर समेत पूजा गरिने प्रचलन रहेको हो।


अन्नबाली पाकिसकेपछि सर्वप्रथम पूर्वज, पितृ र प्रकृतिलाई चढाएपछि मात्र आफूले खाने भनेर चासोकपूजा गरिन्छ।



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