It's high time the government formulated plans and programmes for the whole of Tarai, targeting the tourism potential there. It needs to decentralise the country's tourism by promoting potential tourist spots in the country's southern plains that have historical, religious and cultural importance.
Tarai or Madhes, as it is known these days, is a magnificent magnet for tourism. It is a paradise for tourists who prefer tropical climate. It is neither very hot in the summer nor very cold in the winter. Tarai is rich in culture and also full of diversity. It is a decent destination for white water rafting for the tourists of all the countries of the world. It is a marvelous, mystic and mysterious meeting point of many Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses.
It unfolds a colourful picture of human verve and joy of the immensely religious minded people of this lovely land. The age-old interaction between the Hindus and the Buddhists presents and produces a beautiful balance in which gods lose their sectarian character. Though Nepal is a secular country according to the new Constitution, there is a colourful mixture of many religions in this country.
Madhes is an integral part of Nepal, which is mainly famous for several rites and rituals, fairs and festivals and several world renowned temples situated in its geographical territory. Saint king Janak was born in Janakpur, the ancient capital of Mithila. His dutiful and beautiful daughter Sita also saw the first light of the world here.
Lord Rama, the obedient son of king Dasharath of Ayodhya, came and broke the ceremonial bow of king Janak and married Sita, a symbol of chastity. There is magnetic attraction in the Madhes because several world renowned religious centres are situated in its periphery.
Lumbini is a worth seeing Buddhist heritage not only of Madhes or Nepal but of the whole world. The sacred garden is the centre of attraction for the pilgrims as well as tourists spread over 8 sq. km. It possesses treasures of the historical area.
The Maya Devi temple newly built after renovation is a tourist attraction. Lumbini is known as the place where the Buddha was born in 623 B.C. It is also one of the world’s cultural heritage sites of Nepal declared by UNESCO. It is a world renowned place for pilgrimage famous and popular all over the world especially for the Buddhists.
Gadhi Mai is one of the mother goddess of the Madhesi people. It is also one of the forms of goddess Kali who has been blessing the whole of Madhes since time immemorial. The Gadhi Mai fair takes place every five years. Bariyarpur village is the main centre of attraction for the pilgrims where thousands of buffaloes are sacrificed. It may be a cultural shock for foreign tourists but it is customary for pilgrims who have undying faith in Gadhi Mai.
This fair lasts for twenty days.
Janaki Temple is situated almost in the heart of the city of Janakpur, the ancient capital of Mithila. This temple is the most beautiful among all temples of Janakpur. This is called Janaki Mahal, Janaki Shishmahal (Glass House).
Ram Temple stands only a short distance west of Dhanush Kshetra. This was constructed in 1939 B.S. (1882) by King Rana Bahadur Shah’s Commander-in-Chief Amar Singh Thapa.
It is the finest example of the pagoda style temple of Nepal. The idols of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu can also be seen in this temple. There is a mandap of gold (an umbrella-shaped booth) at the top of this temple. This is called Swarn Mandap (Golden Mandap).
This temple is the center point for the Ram Naumi festival. Dhanushdham is a religious as well as historical sacred place for worshipping in Madhes. It is situated 15 km away from Janakpur.
There is a temple of Shiva Dhanu (The great bow of Lord Shiva) along with a big banyan tree. Jaleshwor Mahadev Temple is one of the prominent places of Madhes. Pilgrims visit this renowned religious temple on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivaratri and Basant Panchami every year.
A big fair takes place at Mahisautha, Salhesh Foolbari (garden), and Patari Pokhari (pond) and also on the temple premises of Salhesh. This lush green garden of Salhesh lies in Siraha near the East-West highway. There is a Haram tree near the temple of Salhesh. In the middle of the Haram tree blooms a garland of flowers.
It is white. It is a wonderful sight which attracts visitors. It is said that beloved Dauna could not get the love of Salhesh throughout her whole life. So she appears once a year like a beautiful garland of flowers and enjoys the imaginary company of Salhesh and fades away the next day. It is still mysterious.
Besides these several sacred places of worship, there are many national parks and wildlife reserves in Madhes which are visited by tourists and wildlife lovers and birdwatchers.
Now the government should formulate plans and programmes for the whole of Madhes. It needs to decentralize the country’ tourism by promoting potential tourist spots in Madhes that possesses historical, religious and cultural importance. The then government had endorsed this initiative to promote the Madhes region and preserve its historic, religious and cultural heritage sites.
The Ministry of Tourism has a major role in developing infrastructure and preserving the ethnic and cultural heritage sites envisioned during Nepal Tourism Year 2011 (NTY 2011). Now as the ministry has declared 2018 as Nepal Tourism Year, it is the duty of the government to have new plans and programs like this.
The ministry should start a feasibility study in these areas to develop them for Home Stay Tourism like Ghale Gaun Home Stay which is attracting foreign as well as local tourists. It should allocate budget for this purpose.