Damauli, Sept 15
Collection and conservation of the shaligram (ammonite stone) has been started for keeping this valued fossilised stone at the Shaligram Museum at Devghatdham.
Devghat is a famous pilgrimage site at the trijunction of Tanahun, Palpa and Chitwan districts at the confluence of the Kaligandaki and Trishuli rivers in central part of the country. The Devghat Development Committee has started the collection and preservation of shaligram for keeping it at the Shaligram Museum (Sismahal) that is to be constructed in the near future.
Hindus consider the shaligram as a holy artefact and worship it as one form of the god Vishnu. Chairman of the Devghat Development Committee, Shivaraj Poudel said the museum is being built so that Hindus can observe the ammonite stone, which are found only along the Kaligandaki river. ‘The Gandaki and shaligram have special mention in The Vedas as well. Ammonite stones are important heritage found along the bank of the Kaligandaki river that originates from Damodar Kunda, a holy pond in Mustang district in the Himalayas, and flows down to Devghat via Muktinath,’ Poudel said.
According to him, some people even started selling the ammonite stones for commercial purpose and they have initiated the campaign for the preservation of this rare and valuable artifact by establishing a museum. Poudel believes that preservation of the shaligram stone will help in the promotion of religious tourism as well. He said works on the construction of the Shaligram Museum would be started within a year and a detailed project report is being prepared for this purpose.
The Department of Tourism has allocated Rs 500 million in the current fiscal year for the development of Devghat area.