Barbara Adams Talk Series VI stresses on promoting the spiritual route followed by Padmasambhava

The sixth episode of the Barbara Adams Talk Series, organized on December 8, 2019, stressed the importance of identifying and promoting the route travelled in Nepal by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava, who is also known as the second Buddha, in the 8th century.

Prof. Dr. Ramesh Kumar Dhungel, expert on cultural and Buddhist studies, was the keynote speaker in the talk program titled “Diversifying Nepal’s Tourism: The Unique Spiritual Route of Padmasambhava from Nepal Mandal to Walung Valley”. He said that at least three South-North routes traversed by Padmasambahava from Nepal to Tibet could be identified. The first route originates from Dang Valley and leads up to Tibet through Dipayal-Doti-Tinker and Kakra Khat bypass. The second originates from Kathmandu and runs through Nuwakot-Rasuwa-Kerung-Mustang and then to Sikachhe-Lasha. Dr. Dhungel stated that the third and the most important route also starts from Kathmandu and passes along Namo Buddha in Kavre-Dolakha-Ramechhap-Okhaldunga-Diktel-Taplegunj and Dipta-la pass before entering into Tibet.

Dr. Dhungel said that the third route is dotted by hundreds of religious sites and spots that are of great religious significance for Buddhists across the world, and so developing and promoting a spiritual route along this trail could help attract pilgrims from around the globe.

The program’s chief guest, Hon. Yogesh Bhattarai, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said that establishing religious/cultural routes help achieve the goal of welcoming two million tourists in the country, while also making the tourists stay longer in the country. He said that the Ministry not only welcomes information and findings on the route on Padmasambhava, but is also mulling over supporting research projects to identity similar other historical/religious/cultural routes in the country.

Historian Dr. Tri Ratna Manandhar, former Vice-Chancellor of Lumbini Buddhist University, said that Nepal’s education system had for long prevented students to take up both History and Geography in schools, and therefore the linkage between these two disciplines that would have been vital to impart awareness about and research on such historical and religious routes was not possible. He said that many historical facts are yet to be discovered about the trails Guru Rinpoche had traversed, especially in the western part of the country. “Himalayan ranges have historically attracted many saints and sages from around the world, hence interdisciplinary study of history and geography could reveal trans-border movement in the ancient period,” he said, adding that it is also important to ascertain and promote the historical route followed by Prithivi Narayan Shah during the unification campaign of Nepal.

Dr. Chandra Kala Ghimire, Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at Tribhuvan University, said that the concept of development in Nepal almost only focuses on infrastructural development, and therefore it is highly encouraging that through the historical route followed by Padmasambhava, a focus has been directed to an individual and ideas.

Mrs. Yankila Sherpa, former Minster of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation moderated the talk program.