Elderly pilgrims laud free rickshaw service at Pashupatinath templeThe Elderly Society of Nepal (ESN) and the National Federation of Disabled (NFD) have welcomed Pashupati Area Development Trust’s (PADT) free transport service for the elderly, disabled and pregnant women up to the main entrance of the Pashupatinath temple.
The Elderly Society of Nepal (ESN) and the National Federation of Disabled (NFD) have welcomed Pashupati Area Development Trust’s (PADT) free transport service for the elderly, disabled and pregnant women up to the main entrance of the Pashupatinath temple.
The PADT on Sunday launched the first free electric auto-rickshaw service from Char Shivalaya to the southern entrance of the temple. Two eight-seat electric auto-rickshaws transfer devotees, from the three categories mentioned above, to the main temple.
The elderly, disabled and pregnant women faced hardships to walk up to the main temple to worship after the PADT stopped vehicles at the gate.
The iconic Hindu temple is one of the eight cultural heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley listed by UNESCO. The temple attracts hundreds of devotees from all over the country as well as foreign tourists.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Prasad Adhikari on Sunday inaugurated the free auto-rickshaw service. Laxmi Bank provided the auto-rickshaws to the PADT.
The free service will benefit senior citizens and those with physical disabilities who depend upon helpers to reach the main temple.
ESN President Maha Prasad Parajuli said, “Free rides is good news. Once Nepalis get older, many long for visiting Pashupatinath temple and offer prayers. This free service definitely spare them the physical strain of walking.
“Many elderly pilgrims from all over the country and foreigners visit this temple. This service is a big relief for them,” said Parajuli.
On the second day of the free service, the two three-wheel auto-rickshaws, painted in yellow and white colours, were busy ferrying pilgrims inside the premises of the temple. “If this service was not available, I would have had to carry my mother. She cannot walk because she suffers from arthritis,” said Shiva Raut, who returned with his octogenarian mother Sanumaya after worshipping at Pashupatinath temple.
“I felt comfortable and I am so happy. I wanted to walk up to the temple, but my legs do not permit. The free ride spared my son a lot of trouble,” said Sanumaya, who is visiting Pashupatinath with her son from Morang. “I had a desire to come here and worship for a long time. My wish is fulfilled now I will have a peaceful death,” she said.
Indian citizen from Jharkhand, Jay Ram Thakur, 85, visiting Kathmandu with his family members was happy to receive the free ride. “I weigh over 80kgs, it would have been very difficult for my son to carry me,” he said.
Lauding the PADT, NFD Vice-president Tika Dahal said, “This free service is a boon to senior and disabled people. The government should make other infrastructures at heritage sites and public places disabled-friendly,” he said.