- Raju Jhallu Prassad.
In the village of Kuri, located in Khaniyabas Rural Municipality, Dhading, there is a field where you can find large boulders scattered around. These boulders, significant in size, can be seen throughout the field and along the canals. They capture one’s attention and evoke curiosity. Even while exploring the different channels and slopes of the hills, it is challenging to come across such isolated rocks.
Apart from these intriguing rocks, there is also a prominent rock formation in the middle of the same field, called “Bijulung Dhunga” (Yabra Yungba, by the local residents tamang). The term “Bijulung” is derived from the combination of “Bijuli” meaning electricity and “Lunga” meaning rock. “Bijuli” refers to a bird called Fisto (Hume’s Warbler).
For many years, this rock was known by the name “Singladevi” or “Singla Lake,” as it was believed to be connected to a stream that flowed through a tree trunk. However, due to the abandoned nature of the rock formation, it eventually acquired the name “Bijulunga Yungba” or “Yabra Yungba” among the locals.
The term “Singlh” in the Tamang language is derived from the combination of “Sing” and “Lh,” which means daughter and deity/lake, respectively. Local residents have held deep religious reverence and faith in Singladevi as a sacred place since ancient times. The day of its establishment and worship is observed with great devotion by the faithful, who gather to offer prayers on the same day every year. It is a particularly beautiful and enchanting location. From here, one can witness the Himalayan range, including Ganesh Himal, Lamtang, Pyalldor Peak and Kanchanjunga, as well as the plains of the Terai, with its meadows, lakes, rivers, and forests (Tamang, Manchhirin, 2057: Sertung: A Glimpse, page 19).
According to researcher Khajaraj Gole, the term “Singlh” refers to the village deity itself. In the Tamang Bon language, the word “Sing” signifies the village. Therefore, by referring to it as “Singladevi,” the villagers acknowledge their belief in the deity established by the village or the deity residing in the village. Singladevi, through its protective presence, ensures the safety of the village and its society. It is believed that worshipping the village deity brings happiness and safeguards the village from natural calamities, epidemics, and other disasters, as well as ensuring prosperity in agriculture and the well-being of the community.
According to author and local Gopal Phuba Tamang, after the death of his two daughters, the king, in their memory, performed a ritual and consecrated a “kunkur’ named ‘Soksing’ in Singlh and another ‘Kunkur’ in the name of Nuwakot in Fyakuri, Nuwakot district.
It is heard that there were trade relations with Tibet, and before the war, Tibetan Bönpos used to come here. It is also mentioned that the Gorkha king (by Prithivi Narayan Shah) forcibly took it under his control due to its strategic location, and there is a historical legacy of the Gorkhali (Jyardi) army stationed there (Singlh, Gone Gya ra Mela, Pizan Khabar).
During the 8th century, Acharya Padmasambhava propagated Mahayana Buddhism and strictly prohibited animal sacrifices and other practices in Buddhist teachings. Before the arrival of Padmasambhava, only Bön practices prevailed in Tamang Ganrajyas (Tamang Kingdoms). However, even after the establishment and promotion of Buddhism in terms of religion, culture, and Sanskritization, Bön practices still exist today in the Tamang locality. Bön is necessary for astrology, divination, exorcism, offering sacrifices, and worshiping deities and gods, as mentioned by the author Phuba.
According to scholar and author Swayambar Singh Lama, “the Bön tradition was established by Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche in the latter half of the 6th century in Tibet, which later took the form of a religious tradition. Dakpa and Shepa Miwoche further developed the Bön tradition and studied powerful mantras.” In the Nepali context, Bön has not received much attention, but foreign researchers have conducted significant research on it. Bön and Buddhism exist separately and have progressed in parallel ways (Tamang Bönpo: Ek Prakritik Chikitsak, Gopal Phuba).
Return to the majestic rock: Bijulung
The chairman of the Khaniyabas Rural Municipality, Ran Bahadur Tamang, reveals that this isolated rock, not found elsewhere due to its immense size and prominence, is claimed to be the largest rock in Nepal. Its height is reported to be 73 meters, while its length stretches to 200 meters. He further expresses, “The significance of this rock, known as Singhal, returning to its original place instills confidence and belief in the local community.”
As you descend down the rocky cliffs, you can spot a small waterfall where a few children are playing in the pool below. Looking up at the cascading rocks, the entire expanse of Bijulung rock can be perceived together. From this vantage point, you can even see the national flag of Nepal fluttering proudly on the pinnacle of the rock. While the youth can easily climb up to the top, it can be challenging for older individuals. The chairman, Mr. Tamang, emphasizes the importance of preserving this natural heritage and not disturbing its tranquility and beauty.
the local government is making further efforts to promote and develop infrastructure around the rock to enhance the tourist experience. This includes establishing pathways, signage, and amenities to facilitate visitors and ensure their safety. The aim is to create a sustainable tourism model that not only benefits the local economy but also preserves the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
Moreover, the recognition of Bijulung Rock and Singha Lake as tourist destinations has led to increased attention from researchers, historians, and environmentalists. They are conducting studies and surveys to better understand the geological and historical significance of the region. This influx of interest and research provides an opportunity for further documentation and preservation of the area’s unique features.
Overall, the efforts to protect, promote, and enhance Bijulung Rock and Singha Lake demonstrate the growing recognition of the importance of local heritage and sustainable tourism. By leveraging these natural wonders and their historical value, the rural municipality aims to create a positive and memorable experience for visitors while also contributing to the socio-economic development of the community.