Pashupatinath is a famous sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva that is located 5 kms north east of Kathmandu valley in the eastern city of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
In consideration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the temple has been listed since 1979. One of the major festivals of this temple is Mahashivaratri where millions of devotees come to worship for that day. This Hindu temple is the troupe of monuments, temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries. This temple is also known as a masterpiece of Hindu architecture.
Besides worshipping, there are several reasons for the purpose of visiting the Pashupatinath Temple. People not only tend to visit here for worshipping but also to see the beautiful art and architecture. The beauty of the art carved on the doors and ceilings of the temple fascinates and adds on the beauty.
Pashupatinath is a lively open museum that is quite interesting for the many travellers, which you have never witnessed before. The visit to Pashupatinath is really worthwhile during your stay in Nepal.
There is a popular story behind the origin of Pashupatinath temple. According to this story, every day a cow used to come across the specific mark and proffer her milk in the ground. The shepherd of the cow saw this activity one day and got very suspicious. Thus, he dug up the place and found the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. Day-by-Day more people gathered around the Shivalinga to follow their rituals. Since then Pashupatinath got famous while this place became a pilgrimage center.
The people for the origin of Pashupatinath Temple say various stories. One story says that Lord Shiva and Pārbati arrived to the Kathmandu Valley and relaxed in the bank of Bagmati river while on a journey. Shiva was so influenced by its beauty and the surroundings of the forest that he decided to change his and Parvati’s avatar of deer and roamed around the forest. Several marks in the Kathmandu Valley also have been identified where Shiva went during the time as a deer.
Pashupati Bagmati Aarati is one of the most fascinating rituals of Pasupatinath Temple. Bagmati, the holy river that flows through the temple has an Aarati(offering the sacred light) in the evening which is quite mesmerizing. The priests perform the Aarati by taking oil lamps and moving them in circular motion and dedicating their act to the Divine. Bhajan (songs with religious theme) are sung by devotees during the Aarati, creating blissful surrounding. The Aarati starts around 6 pm every evening. This is a ritual that allows everyone to be a part of it and creates an environment of union of God and the devotees.
People also visit Pasupatinath in order to see the traditional crematory process followed by the Hindu people. It is believed that Pasupatinath is the best place to get moksha (salvation) after death. Arya Ghat at Pashupatinath temple is of special importance as this Ghat is the only place near the temple whose water is considered sacred.
Kirateshwore Mahadev temple is situated on the Bagmati River’s northen east side. If you visit this temple, you will get to witness the traditional Nepali music concerts which are held on full-moon nights. Nearby, in the cliffs, is the Surya Ghat cave. Also, you can climb the Kailās hill that offers a great view of the Pashupatinath area.
In the southern part of the Pashupatinath there is the temple of Raj Rajeswori, along with Nawa Durga and Pancha Dewal temples, where people visit not only for worshipping purpose but also to see the architecture of the temple. The art and architecture craved in this temple is very interesting to look upon.
Unlike other statues there is still no fact how it has evolved. Thus Virupaksha is considered as an unsolved mystery. The Virupaksha statue is quite interesting to see as its upper body part is above the ground level and the lower part is under the ground. There is a belief that even the half of the upper body was not fully seen many years back, but now due to its gradually growing process, the upper body part is seen which is still considered as a mystery. It is situated in the western side of the Bagmati river. However there is a belief that if the full body statue comes out from the ground this era will be completed and the beginning of the new ear will get started in the world. Virupaksha is also known as kali (era).
The Pashupatinath Temple is situated about 5 kms to the eastern side of Kathmandu city from Thamel tourist area. You can walk to Pashupatinath, which takes about 40-50 mins from Thamel. You can also reach there through taxi that takes about 20 mins since there is no direct public transport from Thamel.
The main inside gate of Pashupatinath temple opens everyday at 4 am. Since the tourists are not allowed inside the temple and only the surroundings, you can visit anytime. But we recommend you to visit from 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM because this is the time when you will be seeing the lively Pashupatinath temple with all the devotees coming to worship.
There are many things to see around Pashupatinath. The major attractions nearer to Pashupatinath where you can make a plan for the next spot are:
The entrance ticket is required which you can buy at the entrance gate that costs1000 NPR.
Yes, there are few hotels near by Pashupatinath temple from Economy to the Luxury class.
The major two festivals celebrated in Pashupatinath temple are Shivaratri (Lord Shiva’s Birthday) and Teej (Women’s Festival).
“Shivaratri” is the major occasion of Pashupatinath where we can see thousands of Hindu devotees who come from the South East Asia. This festival occurs in February or March depending upon the lunar calendar.
“Teej”, On this day thousands of women and girls visit the temple to offer prayers and other religious rituals to Lord Shiva. This festival occurs in July or August depending upon the lunar calendar.
Normally it takes about 2-3 hours, which is enough to explore the whole surroundings of Pashupatinath temple.
Besides Hindus no other religion can enter into the main premises of the temple. However non-Hindus can explore all other surroundings of the temple.