The great poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota wrote in his poem ‘Yatri’ that men need not visit any temple as the human body itself is the greatest temple where the most divine gods reside. He chided people for troubling the living temples that were their bodies to go to brick and mortar structures that they believed were hallowed.
So, had Devkota been alive today, he perhaps would not have approved of the porter facility which has been started at Pathibhara, Taplejung which allows people to literally climb on the backs of other people to reach the famous temple.
Pathibhara Temple is located at an altitude of 3,794 metres and to reach there, people have to walk along a five kilometres long two-metre wide stone-paved path which starts from Kaflepati. But some, especially senior citizens, children and people with disabilities, have a hard time walking the uphill path. So, for those who are unable to walk, the porter service has been started in coordination with the Pathibhara Tourism Entrepreneurs’ Association (PTEA).
Any person seeking to be carried to the temple will have to pay Rs. 100 per kilogram of their weight. This amount has been fixed by the porters themselves. People wishing to come down the path on a porters’ back are also charged Rs. 100 per kilogram.
However, the porters have no way of measuring the actual weight of the visitors. They have to rely on their instincts and what the people themselves tell them. Porter Pasang Sherpa told The Rising Nepal that children weighing as little as 15 to 20 kilograms to adults as heavy as 120 kilograms sought the service of porters. “Sometimes, three to four porters need to come together to carry some overweight pilgrims,” he said.
But it is not an easy job. Porters are humans too, just like the people they carry and they too get tired. But they are still happy because the pay is good. According to the PTEA, more than 300 people have applied to work as porters at Pathibhara and around a 100 have been working regularly. There are some active women porters too.
The porters that The Rising Nepal talked to said they earned a minimum of Rs. 3,000 a day, more during Dashain and Tihar when a large number of people come to visit the Pathibhara Temple.
Source : TRN,