Peeking a Devi’s Fall at Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave

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Horn sound made me see to left when I just walked out of a noodle food stall in Tashiling. Yes, that shrill sound came from Mr. Tirtha’s taxi which I never knew since when it had been parked under a tree right out of Tashiling area.

I think we don’t need to go to Devi’s Fall because its water discharge is low now. So you can see the beauty of Devi’s Fall from a cave”, said Mr. Tirtha while turning steering wheel to left and entered Shital Path Street. I just agreed with that information.

Devi’s Fall often had been nicknamed as David’s Fall since decades ago when a Swiss drowned in current at this waterfall.

OK …. We are arriving“, joked Mr. Tirtha while snapping her fingers when he had just turned right following Siddhartha Rajmag’s Street flow.

I started to enter the gate of Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, which at its top stood the dashing Lord Shiva holding his trident in cross-legged position. Through it, then walking in tarpaulin-covered entrance route with a row of souvenir stalls on either side. Then I was greeted by the presence of Lord Vishnu statue which sleeping next to the main building.

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Main balcony.

It was time to head to a concrete balcony to bought a ticket for 100 Rupee. Before descending the stairs to cave mouth, for a moment I paid attention to details of staircase walls which were regularly spaced displaying Gods carvings which might implicitly feature a certain stories.

Stairs to cave mouth.

Temperature difference had begun to be felt on first foothold at cave mouth. Now I was ready to explore the longest cave in Nepal.

Cow Shed“, I was stunned to see a cow shed with blue iron fence. I asked a local person who was talking in front of it. He briefly said that this cow protected Lord Shiva. I nodded as if I understood.

Going down the stairs through right side of cage I felt my breath getting heavier. The damp dark cramped space made it so. Then I saw a bright light again at a temple which dedicated to glorifying Lord Shiva.

It was said that this cave was found in 16th century with cave mouth closed by grass. Local people named this cave as Bhalu Dulo. When found, there were already carvings of several Hindu Gods such as Mahadev, Parvati, Nageshwor and Saraswati.

Now stairs to cave bottom were getting sharper and slippery. Water continued to drip from stalactites which were spread evenly on cave roof. The lack of lighting made my downward journey very slow.

Be careful, ok…..

Finally, the appearance of cave bottom was amazing. A very large room was in basement. Then on a side appeared a natural gap which was the only hole to enjoy the beauty of Devi’s Fall.

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That was Devi’s Fall…. Wasn’t that cool ?.

Check out the situation of Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p0Yjhocidg

God’s extraordinary work of nature….

A Bowl of Noodle in Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp

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I already understood before Mr. Tirtha told me that my next destination was Tashiling, A Tibetan refugee settlement in Pokhara. Nepal itself provided access to this migration because since ancient times, Tibet and Nepal have had close close relations in economy, diplomacy and culture. They have repeatedly signed various cooperation agreements in their history as two mutually sovereign nations.

Departing from International Mountain Museum, my taxi drove towards east and it was about 3.5 km in distance. This time Mr. Tirtha who changed to interrupt the trip, he stopped at a pharmacy to buy a some drugs. He steadfastly said that his father had a liver problem which required him to set aside his income from driving a taxi for his father’s treatment.

Namaska“, he shouted at his friends on the street. He explained a little to me that Namaska ​​was a greeting similar to “Namaste“.

Then, he emphasized that tourism was like a gold for his country. So many people in his age struggled to have a small car and fuctioned as a taxi. And English was the key for them to attract tourists …. “Sorry Mr Tirtha, if in Jakarta, I prefer to be a salesman with a commission” …..Hahaha, he broadly laughed.

15 minutes later, the taxi exited from Siddhartha Rajmarg main road. Stop on a dirt road. “Welcome to Tashiling“, said Mr. Tirtha.

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The view of Tashiling from dropping point.

My steps were immediately drawn to a row of souvenir stalls. Yesss…. That was where Tibetan people earn money to survive in their refugee camps. On the way home, Mr. Tirtha regretted Tibetan migration because China has paid more attention to Tibet welfare now.

A man who was so friendly explained some various meanings of  merchandises.

Entering this 56 year old village, I could get a peek at a little Tibetan culture. The way they dress and worship was an easy thing to grasp during this brief visitation. The hospitality of the tiny residents with brown skin and slanted eyes became something unforgettable. According to a confession from one of them, there were about 700 Tibetan refugees in this village. Even in the early days of their migration, there were about 2,000 residents.

Tashiling itself was only one of 12 refugee camps across Nepal. It was well known since Dalai Lama resistance, many Tibetans migrated to Nepal on 1959-1961.

Satisfied in seeing Tashiling’s face, I took time to sit at their small restaurant. I ordered a bowl of noodles for lunch. Simple menu for 150 Rupee which made me ready to continue the journey to next destination.

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It was delicious….Was there pork oil in?….Hahaha.

Come on, go to next destination….

Next Story—->

Mengintip Devi’s Fall di Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave

Bunyi klakson membuatku menoleh ke kiri ketika baru saja beranjak keluar dari sebuah kedai mie di Tashiling. Ya, suara cempreng itu berasal dari taksi Mr. Tirtha yang entah sejak kapan sudah terparkir di bawah sebuah pohon tepat di arah keluar area Tashiling.

I think we don’t need to go to Devi’s Fall because its water debit is low now. So you can see the beauty of Devi’s Fall from the cave”, tutur Mr. Tirtha sembari memutar setirnya ke kiri memasuki jalan Shital Path. Aku mengiyakan saja informasi itu.

Devi’s Fall sering dijuluk David’s Fall sejak berpuluh-puluh tahun lalu ketika seorang Swiss tenggelam termakan arus di air terjun ini.

OK….We are arriving”, seloroh Mr. Tirtha sambil menjentikkan jari ketika baru saja berbelok ke kanan mengikuti arus jalanan Siddhartha Rajmag.

Aku mulai memasuki gapura Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave yang di puncaknya didudukkan Dewa Siwa yang gagah bersila menggenggam trisula. Melewatinya, untuk kemudian menelusuri jalur masuk beratap terpal dengan deretan kios souvenir di kiri-kanan. Kemudian aku disambut dengan kehadiran patung Dewa Wisnu yang tertidur di sebelah bangunan utama.

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Balkon utama.

Saatnya menuju ke bagian balkon beton untuk membeli selembar tiket seharga Rp. 13.500. Sebelum menuruni tangga menuju mulut goa, sejenak aku memperhatikan detail dinding tangga yang dengan jarak teratur menampilkan pahatan Dewa-Dewi yang mungkin secara implisit menampilkan sebuah lakon tertentu.

Tangga menuju mulut goa.

Perbedaan suhu sudah mulai terasa pada pijakan pertama di mulut goa. Kini aku bersiap menelusuri goa terpanjang di Nepal.

Cow Shed”, aku tertegun memperhatikan sebuah kandang sapi berpagar besi biru. Bertanyalah aku kepada orang lokal yang sedang berbincang di depannya. Katanya singkat bahwa sapi ini melindungi Dewa Siwa. Aku mengangguk seakan faham.

Menuruni tangga melalui sisi kanan kandang aku merasa tarikan nafas semakin berat. Ruang sempit gelap lembab membuatnya demikian. Kemudian cahaya terang kembali kujumpai pada sebuah kuil yang didedikasikan untuk memuliakan Dewa Siwa.

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Dasar Donny….Kamu mencuri gambar….Kan “No Camera”….Parah.

Konon goa ini ditemukan pada abad ke-16 dengan kondisi mulut goa tertutup rerumputan. Orang lokal menamai goa ini Bhalu Dulo. Ketika ditemukan, sudah terdapat ukiran beberapa Dewa Dewi Hindu seperti Mahadev, Parvati, Nageshwor dan Saraswati.

Kini tangga menuju ka dasar goa semakin tajam dan licin. Air terus menetes dari stalagtit yang terhampar merata di atap goa. Sedikitnya lampu penerangan membuat perjalanan ke bawah menjadi sangat pelan.

Hati-hati ya…..

Akhirnya penampakan dasar goa terpampang menakjubkan. Ruangan yang sangat luas berada di bawah tanah. Kemudian di salah satu sisi tertampil sebuah celah alami yang menjadi satu-satunya lubang untuk menikmati keindahan Devi’s Fall.

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Itu Devi’s Fall….Keren kan ya?.

Lihat situasi Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave disini:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p0Yjhocidg

Karya alam milik Tuhan yang luar biasa….

Semangkuk Mie di Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp

Aku sudah faham sebelum Mr. Tirtha memberitahuku bahwa destinasi berikutnya adalah Tashiling, pemukiman para pengungsi Tibet di Pokhara. Nepal sendiri memberikan akses migrasi ini karena sejak zaman dahulu, Tibet dan Nepal telah memiliki hubungan kerjasama yang erat dalam bidang ekonomi, diplomasi dan budaya. Kedua belah pihak pernah berulangkali dalam sejarah menandatangi berbagai perjanjian kerjasama sebagai dua bangsa yang saling berdaulat.

Bertolak dari International Mountain Museum, taksi kini merapat ke timur dan berlari sejauh 3,5 km. Kali ini Mr. Tirtha yang berganti menginterupsi perjalanan, dia berhenti di sebuah apotek untuk membeli seracik obat. Dia bertutur dengan tabah, bahwa ayah kandungnya mengalami gangguan liver yang mengharuskannya menyisihkan penghasilan dari menyopir taksi untuk pengobatan sang ayah.

Namaska”, teriaknya pada teman-teman seprofesinya di jalanan. Dia sedikit menjelaskan bahwa Namaska adalah sapaan yang mirip dengan “Namaste”. 

Kemudian, dia menegaskan bahwa pariwisata bak emas buat negaranya. Jadi banyak orang seusianya berjuang memiliki sebuah mobil kecil untuk dipekerjakan menjadi sebuah taksi. Dan english adalah kunci bagi mereka untuk menggaet wisatawan….”Maaf Mr Tirtha, kalau di Jakarta, aku lebih memilih menjadi salesman dengan komisinya”….Hahaha, dia tertawa lebar.

15 menit kemudian, taksi keluar dari jalan utama Siddhartha Rajmarg. Berhenti di sebuah jalanan tanah. “Welcome to Tashiling”, Ucap Mr. Tirtha.

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Pemandangan Tashiling dari dropping point.

Langkahku langsung tertuju pada deretan kios penjual souvenir. Yesss….Disitulah para Tibetan mengais rezeqi untuk menyambung hidup di pengungsian. Dalam perjalanan pulang nanti, Mr. Tirtha menyayangkan para Tibetan yang bermigrasi ini karena saat ini Tiongkok sudah lebih memperhatikan kesejahteraan Tibet.

Si bapak yang begitu ramah menjelaskan berbagai makna dari barang dagangannya.

Memasuki perkampungan berusia 56 tahun ini, aku bisa mengintip sedikit budaya Tibet. Cara mereka berpakaian dan beribadah adalah hal yang gampang ditangkap dalam kunjungan singkat ini. Keramahan penduduk berbadan mungil dengan kulit sawo matang dan bermata sipit menjadi sesuatu yang tak terlupakan. Menurut pengakuan dari salah satu mereka, ada sekitar 700 pengungsi Tibet di kampung ini. Bahkan di masa-masa awal pengungsian terdapat hampir 2.000 warga.

Tashiling sendiri hanya merupakan salah satu dari 12 kamp pengungsian di seluruh penjuru Nepal. Seperti diketahui bahwa semenjak perlawanan Dalai Lama, banyak warga Tibet yang bermigrasi ke Nepal pada tahun 1959-1961.

Puas melihat muka Tashiling, aku menyempatkan diri untuk duduk di sebuah kedai makan milik mereka. Kupesan semangkuk mie sebagai menu makan siang. Menu sederhana seharga RP. 20.000 yang membuatku siap untuk melanjutkan perjalanan ke destinasi berikutnya.

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Enak euy….Ada minyak babinya engga ya?….Hahaha.

Yuk, jalan lageeeeeeh….