Several hundred thousand Hindu devotees of the country embark on a pilgrimage every year at the scenic and fabled Chandranath hill in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong.
According to Hindu mythology a sage created a pond or Kunda for Sita to bathe in when her husband Hindu lord Ramchandra visited her during his exile in the forests. That is where the name of the hill Sitakundu derives from.
Chandranath hill is also considered sacred because the great god Shib or Shiva lives there.
That is why devotees from all over the country of all ages scale the hill to visit the temple and pour water, coconut juice and mill on the idol of Shib seeking divine blessings.
The pilgrimage—which has been going on for hundreds of years-- is an exhausting five hour walk up the hills. But the enchantment of undulating green hills and legends associated with the hills is what makes this journey memorable.
The pilgrims visit two Shib Temples—Birupakko and Chandranath situated at 1200 feet as well as the wells of Ram-Lakkhan-Sita and sage Besh.
Besides the Hindu devotees, the site is an attraction among general tourists as well for its natural beauty and the mysticism surrounding it.
Devotees begin their journey by first reaching Besh Kundu, a well associated with the sage Besh.
They scale the Birupakka hill and visit the Birupakka temple then the Chandranath hill where the Chandranath temple is situated.
It takes nearly three hours to climb the hills and about two more hours to climb down. During puja rituals it is so crowded that the journey takes double the time.
A fair is arranged before the pilgrimage and lasts for three days. This year the pilgrimage started on March 7 and ended on March 8.