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Maratika Jeep Tour (Halesi Mahadev)

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  • Group Size: 2-10 PAX
  • Maximum altitude: 1700m
  • Best Season: Spring and Autumn
  • Grade Info: Easy
  • Transportation: Private Vehicle
  • Total Days: 2 Days

Halesi Mahadev, situated (3100 ft- 4374 ft) above sea level, is one of the significant pilgrimage sites of Nepal that is visited by thousands of devotees every year. It is a historically and culturally important site and is also one of the most-visited destinations. There is a popular belief that after visiting here, people can get rid of obstacles, make progress in life, and be free from any kind of illness. Visiting Halesi, you can also get a chance to explore the beautiful hilly areas and witness the natural beauty of Khotang district.

The place holds great cultural significance to Hindus, Buddhists and Kirats. In Hinduism, it is believed that Lord Shiva stayed in the caves to flee Bhasmasura. The place is important to Hindus and is visited by devotees from Nepal and India. The fairs are held during different festivals like Ram Navami and Shivaratri.

In Buddhism, the temple is renowned as Maratika Cave and is considered the place where Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava received enlightenment and longevity. Pilgrims who follow Buddhism visit the cave to meditate and also to receive blessings. Halesi is also culturally significant to the Kirats as they believe it is their ancestral place from where they evolved. They believe that their ancestral deity, Raechhakule (Hetchhakuppa), used to stay inside the cave.

We here at Exciting Nepal offer an invigorating Jeep Tour to Maratika (Halesi Mahadev), ensuring you an enjoyable and comfortable journey. You can visit the site on the road, enjoying an adventurous and scenic drive through beautiful hill roads while witnessing mesmerizing scenery of verdant hills, serene rivers, and charming settlements.

Highlights of the Maratika Jeep Tour

  • An exhilarating drive to Halesi via Jeep.
  • Adventurous and luxury journey witnessing the beautiful views of lush hills, forests, and beautiful settlements.
  • Visit Halesi Mahadev Temple.
  • A chance to participate in evening prayers (Sandhyakalin Aarti).
  • Visit the Basaha Cave

About Halesi- Maratika Caves
About Halesi- Maratika Caves

The Halesi Maratika Cave is located in the Khotang district of Nepal. It is religiously significant for Hindus, Buddhists, and Kirats. The cave is located 67 feet below the surface and is also considered the Pashupatinath of the East. The Halesi Mahadev Cave has unique physical characteristics that have captivated the visitors. The shape of the cave is round with a diameter of 193 feet. The pilgrims visit the cave to receive blessings and perform prayers and rituals. It is also culturally significant as it presents the harmony between three different faiths.

5 Dwars of Halesi Mahadev Temple

There are distinctive gates that are considered as sacred gates, each with different names and meanings. Each gate (Dwar) has its own significance. The 5 different Dwars are Dharma Dwar, Ghopte Dwar, Paap Dwar, Janma Dwar, and Swarga Dwar.

Basaha Cave

When you are in Halesi it is highly recommended to visit Basaha Cave. You will make your way towards the cave by descending through the stairs. The cave is also considered as the image of Nandi The beautiful colorful flags have decorated the surroundings of the cave. When you enter the cave, there is darkness initially, and soon, you will notice a section of the cave that gets light from where you can see the sky. There is a popular belief that Lord Shiva’s footprint can be seen inside the cave. The stones, sculptures, and Sankha (Conch Shell) have added charm to this mysterious and unique cave.

The Basaha Cave also has symbols of Lord Ganesh and Kartikerya so, it holds a great religious significance to hindus. The devotees pray here, and light Diyos (Oil Lamps) and seek blessings from God.

Outline Itinerary of Maratika Jeep Tour (Halesi Mahadev)

Day 1: Drive to Halesi Mahadev/ Maratika Cave from Kathmandu

Day 2: Morning Puja at Maratika Cave and Return to Kathmandu from Halesi

Detailed Itinerary of Maratika Jeep Tour (Halesi Mahadev)

Halesi mahadev temple

Day 1: Drive to Halesi Mahadev/ Maratika Cave from Kathmandu

Distance: 318 km

Drive Duration: 8 Hours

On the first day of the journey, we will pick you up, and you will settle in a comfortable Jeep. We will have a smooth ride from Kathmandu, passing through the roads of Bhaktapur and Dhulikhel. The road has many turnings, but the beautiful views of the hills will keep you captivated. You will see many colorful eateries along the highway that fit perfectly in the beautiful hillside region. Every stopover point where the vehicle rests for refreshment is stunning. Crossing the beautiful road bridge over a beautiful river is truly fascinating. We will pass through beautiful places like Bhakunde Besi, Chiyabari, and Ghurmi and finally make it to Halesi. It takes around 8 hours to reach Halesi via Jeep. Upon your arrival in Halesi, you can transfer to the hotel and check in to get refreshed. After a brief rest you can then visit Halesi Mahadev Temple.

In the evening time you can get a chance to witness the ‘Sandhyakalin Aarti,’ and you will notice many people dancing or singing along to the tunes of devotional songs, which will fill your heart with happiness. You can get immersed in the beautiful surroundings of the temple filled with the aroma of incense sticks (Agarbatti). The temple is decorated by beautiful oil lamps, and the glow emitted through it represents prosperity, knowledge and enlightenment. When the puja starts, people get immersed in the ceremony, and you will have a deep sense of completeness while being spiritually healed. After visiting the temple and witnessing the evening ‘Aarti,’ you will head back to your hotel, which is near the Maratika cave, and take a much-needed rest.

Day 2: Morning Puja at Maratika Cave and Return to Kathmandu from Halesi

Distance: 318 km

Drive Duration: 8 Hours

On day two you will attend a morning Puja in Halesi Temple. Attending the puja makes you feel peaceful and fulfilled. You can also do mediation which will help you to be more calm and get a better understanding about yourself.

After spending your morning time in the temple you have to get ready for returning. You will have a hearty breakfast, settle in the Jeep, and enjoy the joyful drive to Kathmandu. You can get to witness beautiful views of rivers, hills, and villages once again upon your return. The various stop-over points offer beautiful scenery, making you feel rejuvenated. After a car drive of 8 hours passing through Ghurmi, Khurkot, Bhakunde Besi, Dhulikhel, and Bhaktapur you will finally reach Kathmandu. We will drop you up at your home, which will mark the end of your incredible 2-day journey.

Trip Cost US$ 600 Per person
Cost Includes:
  • 4x4 Jeep with  Driver and fuel
  • All your pick up and Drop.
  • English Speaking Guide including all his expenses with full insurance covered.
  • 1 Night deluxe  Hotel in Halesi with Breakfast
  • Lodges Accommodation as per the itinerary.
  • Breakfast / Lunch and Diner during the tour
  • Seasonal fruits.
  • Permit and all necessary documents to travel.
  • All highway Tax and road permit.
  • Medical box with oxi meter.
Cost Excludes:
  • All your drinks.
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu valley and Pokhara.
  • Nepal Entry Visa Fees. Click here for more details.
  • Extra hotel night in Kathmandu and Pokhara beside the itinerary.
  • Meals in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
  • Tips for guide and driver.
  • Wifi and Hotel showers during the tour.

The Festivals Observed In Halesi

ram nawami festival in maratika cave


Shivaratri is celebrated annually to honor the Lord Shiva. Mahashivratri commemorates the wedding of Shiva and Parbati. It is observed in the month of Falgun (February or March). During the festival, the Halesi Mahadev Temple is visited by thousands of devotees. The pilgrims celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm and devotion by fasting and meditating. The night of Shivaratri holds great importance as the devotees gather in the temple and spend the entire night performing prayers, singing devotional songs, and chanting the sacred mantras. Many also make offerings of fruits, leaves, milk, and sweets to Lord Shiva. There is a popular belief that on this night, Lord Shiva performs the divine dance (Tandava). The surrounding markets are vibrant, and the glowing lights from the oil lamps make the whole atmosphere magical. Visiting the Halesi Mahadev temple in Shivaratri can be ideal for those who are looking for a place that celebrates the festival with great devotion.

Ram Navami

Another festival which is celebrated in Halesi Temple is Ram Navami. The fairs are held to observe the Ram Navami festival. Ram Navami is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama. Many pilgrims visit the temple on Ram Navami to honor Lord Rama. The prayers and devotional songs are performed during the Ram Navami. The offerings of flowers, sweets, and fruits are also made to the Gods. The tale of Ramayana can also be recited by the devotees during the fair. Many devotees visit the temple on this day to celebrate the festival and attend the cultural event. The local markets are colorful and beautifully decorated, which makes the whole atmosphere delightful.


Ubhauli is one of the major festivals of the Kirat community. They also pray at the Halesi temple and seek blessings. The festival is joyful as the traditional Kirat dance is performed along with the rituals. The festival falls during the month of April- May and is celebrated every year when the summer season arrives.


Udhauli is another major festival that is celebrated by the Kirat community when the winter season arrives. It is celebrated by performing the traditional Sakela Dance. The festival is also celebrated for thanking and appreciating mother nature. It is also a time when people migrate from colder zones to warmer zones.

Bala Chaturdashi

The Bala Chaturdashi festival is also celebrated at Halesi Mahadev Temple. The festival is celebrated by performing rituals and prayers with a great belief that their deceased ancestors receive Moksha, which means liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Moksha is considered the state of perfection where the soul gets eternal freedom from the cycle of birth and death.

During the festival the pilgrims worship Lord Shiva and pray for peace of souls of the ancestors and also to receive blessings. The temple is decorated by the lights of oil lamps and prayer ceremonies are also held. The festival also holds a great cultural importance and is celebrated with a great devotion and enthusiasm at Halesi Mahadev Temple.


Teej is a significant festival, especially for women. They visit the temple to receive blessings for a good married life and the welfare of their spouse. The festival of Teej falls between July and September.

Many women dance together in folk music, wearing beautiful sarees and bangles. They mostly visit the temple in the morning to pray and seek blessings from Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Many women fast the entire day, praying for happiness and unity in their married life. The Halesi Temple is full of devotees on Teej, who come together to celebrate this vibrant festival.

Gain Insights On:

Accommodation Facilities at Halesi

Accommodation Facilities at Halesi

As Halesi is directly accessible by road, the number of pilgrims has increased, and the accommodation facilities also have improved. During the time of fairs and special occasions, the place is very crowded so securing a quality accommodation can be relatively challenging, and prior booking is necessary.

Many lodges and hotels are doing their best to provide good lodging facilities ensuring a comfortable stay for the visitors. Currently, many improvements are implemented and the visitors are happy with the service and hospitality provided by the owners.

The Local Economy of Halesi

The Local Economy of Halesi

The accessibility has increased because of the roads and is visited by many pilgrims, because of which the economic activities have increased. The pilgrims travel in groups with friends and family, and during the festive seasons, the number rises significantly, which has flourished the local economy. The hotels, lodges, and small stores are mostly operated by the locals and because of the pilgrims, the local population has found the means to lead their lives running small businesses. Even during the weekend, many pilgrims visit the temple, which has increased consumption and has been a great help to the stall owners who sell flowers and oil lamps. With the availability of quality lodging and good hospitality, the locals are highly positive that the region's economy will grow further.

The Incredible Beauty of Khotang

halesi mahadev maratika cave jeep tour

Halesi Mahadev Temple is situated in Khotang district, and you will be traveling through the Jeep to the beautiful places of Nepal and finally reach Khotang district, which is full of natural beauty. It is a hilly district that lies within Koshi province in the eastern part of Nepal and is home to different ethnic groups. The Halesi Mahadev Temple, Barah pokhari, and Bhulbhule are the other special attractions of the district. During this invigorating journey you can also request for the customization of the trip and visit the nearby beautiful places of Khotang district. The beautiful district offers breathtaking views of hills and settlements that add to the beauty of the surroundings. The fresh air and lush surroundings make the whole journey intriguing. The journey to Khotang all together is scenic and exhilarating which enhances your traveling experience.

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