Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal
Pashupatinath or Pashupati Temple is one of the most important hindu temple to visit in Kathmandu city. Pashupatinath temple is devoted to hindu god lord shiva. Pashupatinath temple in Nepal has been a centerpiece of religious life particularly within the Kathmandu Valley ever since its founding some fourteen hundred years ago.
Kathmandu is capital city of Nepal, which is located on the banks of Bagmati River. More than 85% of Nepal population are hindus so Pashupatinath is considered to be the protector of Nepal. Kathmandu is also the country’s largest city. Kathmandu alone has several temples that are visited by millions of devotees each year.The strong religious beliefs of Nepal people have remained along with the temples that have stood there for so many years, bearing witness to their culture, history and religion.
The cremation Ghats found along the river Bagmati next to the temple and also the most holy cremation platforms in the valley, including the Arya Ghat, where members of the royal family have been historically always cremated.
The Pashupatinath shrine is constructed in a pagoda style of architecture with a double-tier golden roof and four massif silver doorways. Pashupatinath temple structure stands inside the core of a large complex that includes pilgrim’s quarters and cremation ghats. The inner sanctum of the shrine contains approximately 3 feet high black stone siva Linga, the phallic symbol of Shiva characteristically carved lodged inside Yoni, the symbol of female, together representing the harmony between the masculine and feminine, good and evil, the two opposites of the oneness of the Universe.
The holy Shiva Lingam of Pashupatinath has four faces and an invisible fifth face. The busiest and most fascinating time at Pashupatinath is during Shivaratri, the celebration of Shiva’s birthday. Held during February or early March, thousands of pilgrims and sadhus, the wondering Hindu mendicant monks, regarded as holy ascetics who replicate Shiva, converge on Pashupatinath.
Pashupatinath temple is on UNESCO World Heritage list. Pashupatinath is the most important temple dedicated to god Shiva. Every year this temple attracts hundreds of elderly followers of Hinduism. Pashupatinath temple is the biggest temple of the Lord Shiva, who is the major god of the Hindus. The temple is located 5 kilometer north-east of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, just along the Bagmati river banks. The temple is believed to be oldest and most sacred temple of all the Hindus. Thousands of pilgrims come here every year to pay homage to their god. The temple is also known as the “Temple of Living Beings”.
The Pashupatinath temple is believed to built back in the year 400 A.D. and surrounding many Hindu legends which tells how the temple was said to be established. The temple has been a symbol of the faith, religion, tradition and culture of the Hindu people.
There are interesting things to see in the temple that will surely fascinate everyone. One of these is the gold-painted images of guardian gods. The temple is mostly surrounded with gold. The statues and even the temple’s covering are all colored in gold which signifies the holiness of the place. One can also find here the Chaturmukha Brahma, which is four-faced statue.
Festivals at Pashupatinath Temple:
The Pashupatinath temple has many festivals where in one can witness thousands of devotees in the place. One of these festivals is the Shivarati festival. During this occasion, the temple is surrounded with lighted oil lamps and all night, and the temple is also left open throughout the evening.
Hundreds of devotees come to bathe at the Bagmati River which is known to be blessed with sacred waters. The Hindus also fast the whole day during the Shivarati festival. Another Pashupatinath special occasion is the Teej festival. During this day thousands of women visit the place to bathe at the Bagmati Rivers. Hindus believe that bathing at the Bagmati River during this day will bless one with a long and successful marriage. Throughout the day, women wear the red saris which are their traditional wedding dress. There are also other festivals such as the Ekadasi, Sankranti, Rakshabandhan, and the Grahana which is the eclipse and the Poornima, celebrated during full moons.
According to the Nepalese Hindu tradition, the dead body must be dipped 3 times into the Bagmati River before cremation, so that the reincarnation cycle may be ended. The chief mourner (usually the first son) who lights the funeral pyre must take a holy river-water bath in Bagmati river immediately after cremation. Many relatives who join the funeral procession also take a bath in the Bagmati River or sprinkle the holy water on their bodies at the end of cremation. The Bagmati River purifies the people spiritually.
Food and Places to stay
The typical Nepali meal consists of bhat (rice), dal (lentils),tarkari (vegetable curry), masu (meat), chutney (pickle) and dahi (yoghurt).There are various accommodation options ranging from five star hotels to mid range and budget hotels. ISD and STD facilities are available in almost all Internet cafes.
When to Travel
The best time to travel to Kathmandu is October to November, the start of the dry season. There are several beautiful and interesting villages and towns surrounding the valley, which are ideal destinations for mini treks. The beautiful Himalayan peaks are visible from several points on the mountains around the valley.