Pashupatinath Temple | Important religious Sites in Asia For Devotees of Lord Shiva
Pashupatinath Temple - Hindu pilgrimage temple of Lord Shiva. The Holy site has been listed in the UNESCO world heritage site from Nepal.
The Pashupatinath Temple is an ancient Hindu temple complex on the banks of the Bagmati River. It is one of the four most holy places in Asia for Shiva devotees. The site is a religious hub for all Hindu people. It offers a great cultural experience for the people who want to explore Hindu religion. Pashupatinath is also an archaeological delight and one of the oldest temples in Nepal. UNESCO listed the site as a World heritage site in 1979 AD.
Pashupatinath Temple complex is a beautiful structure comprising various art, murals, and architecture. The main temple is built in pagoda style on a square base platform. It has cubic constructions and is supported by beautifully carved wooden pillars and has a gilded roof. All four doors are silver-plated and exquisite wood carvings can be seen alongside the doors. The temple has a gold pinnacle "Gajur" on it's copper roofs. The whole structure stands 23m and 7cm tall from base to pinnacle.
Only Hindus people can enter the main temple boundary. The main temple area contains a Shiva lingam inside the temple, and the largest statue of Nandi the bull which faces the temple. Likewise, there are hundreds of Shiva lingams in the compound beside Bhairava temple.
When visitors go further east along the banks of the Bagmati, they get to see the beautiful Guheshwori temple. Other beautiful temples of Deupatan, Jaya Bageshori exist there. Along with places such as Gaurighat (Holy Bath), Kutumbahal, Gaushala, Pingalasthan, and Sleshmantak forest within the complex. There are approximately 492 temples, 15 Shivalayas (Lord Shiva shrines), and 12 Jyotirlingas (phallic shrines). This is the reason that Kathmandu is known as "The city of Temples".
Beautiful Pashupatinath Complex is only 2.3 Kilometers from the Airport via Tilganga Road. Likewise, it's only 3.8 Kilometers from Thamel. And only 3.2 kilometers from the famous Boudhanath (khasti Chaitya), another UNESCO heritage site of Kathmandu.
Further, the Pashupatinath Temple is around 7.7 Kilometers from Swayambhunath Stupa via Sorakhutte Thamel Marga. Thus, the temple complex is easily accessible from every part of Kathmandu. It has easy access to local as well as rented vehicles.
Numerous festivals draw thousands of Hindu Devotees to Pashupatinath. Here are the four most significant festivals which people celebrate in Pashupatinath Temple.
Last Monday Of Shrawan
Starting from the Shrawan Sankranti, the whole month is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hindu women celebrate the Last Monday of Shrawan at Pashupatinath with great joy. They believe it will give a happy family, harmonious marriage and longevity of their husband’s lives. So they fast and visit Pashupatinath Temple on this day. This day is auspicious because this marks the end of Shrawan; the month of Shiva. People offer milk, water, and bilva leaves to lord Shiva.
Haritalika Teej is another beautiful festival which Hindu women celebrate in Pashupatinath. This is also a very important festival for all Hindu women in Nepal as well as the rest of the world. Women on this day visit pashupatinath wearing traditional dresses and ornaments. They worship Lord Shiva for their husband’s long life and happiness. These women take Nirjala vrat (fasting without even drinking water) on this day. Likewise, women gather in Pashupatinath periphery, sing folk tunes about the happy and sad moments of their married life and dance in groups.
Maha Shivaratri is an important Hindu festival commemorating Lord Shiva. People celebrate this festival at Pashupatinath with great rejoice. The preparation of Shivaratri starts some 15 days before the actual day. They clean and paint the temple and place new murals and wall paintings around Pashupatinath Temple.
Likewise, several Aghori and Nilambara Aghoris visit Pashupatinath Temple. On the day of Maha Shivaratri, people commemorate the auspicious festival by maintaining a day-long fast. They break the fast by consuming Shiva's Prasad "dishes containing bhang" and taking blessings from sages. They also stay awake all night, burn fire and do puja during Nishita Kaal at the banks of Pashupatinath.
Bala Chaturdashi is one of Pashupatinath's numerous distinctive festivities. This festival starts from Marga Krishna Trayodashi, the 13th day of the waning moon in Mangsir (early December). Devotees who practice this rite keep a rigorous fast, eating only one meal that day.
They spend the entire night chanting songs and praying to Lord Shiva. They ignite the akhanda jyot (everlasting flame) at the temple in honor of their families' departed souls. People also light butter lamps on a leaf and release it into the Bagmati River. The next morning, they bathe in Bagmati and offer seven different types of grains to the lord Pashupatinath.
Every morning starts with aarti in the temple. Mostly, people visit the temple to worship Lord Shiva on Saturday. The temple is open to worship all year round Hindu people celebrate many other festivals at Pashupatinath.
Facts and Legends about Pashupatinath Temple
People believe Pashupatinath exists since the beginning of the millennium. Later, in the 5th century, various Malla kings renovated the complex. But, historians and scholars say 'the current structure of Pashupatinath was built in 1692 A.D'. Some of the famous temples in the Pashupatinath complex are Vaishnava temple, and Guhyeshwari Temple. They are mentioned in an 11th-century manuscript.
Though there are no exact recollections or inscriptions pointing to a particular person building Pashupatinath, people believe Licchavi king Prachanda Deva built the temple. People believe that the temple was a Linga-shaped Devalaya before Supuspa Deva built a five-story Pashupatinath temple in this location. After that, people believe Pashupatinath was rebuilt by a medieval king Shivadeva in around 1099 to 1126 AD. Finally, there is well known evidence that king Ananta Malla renovated it by adding a roof. These manuscripts and inscriptions show that the Pashupatinath is not only a religious place, but it's a historic monument where many ancient kings have left their marks.
According to legend, Lord Shiva and Parbati once found the forest on the east bank of the Bagmati River amazing. So they change themselves into deers and walk around. When God wanted him to return, he denied. Then, the gods eventually caught up with him and, grabbing one of his horns, forced him to revert to his divine form. The broken antler was worshiped as a Shiva Lingam. Later it eventually gets buried and lost. Another Legend says, A herdsman discovered one of his cows showering the earth with milk centuries later. After digging the place, he found the lingam. There, people built Pashupatinath Temple.
Things to do in Pashupatinath Temple
Here are some things that you can do in Pashupatinath Temple.
- Watch the Rites Of Cremation At Pashupatinath
- Panoramic View Of Pashupati from small hill top
- Visit Kirateshwar Oldest Archaeological Statue (lingam)
- Visit The Statue Of Virupaksha (Kali Maharaj)
- Attend Arati At the Evening
- Meditate in The Pashupatinath
- Buy religious books
Observe Rites Of Cremation At Pashupatinath Temple
Keeping aside the sages and the beautiful architecture of the Pashupatinath. The temple is one of the holiest places where Hindu people perform the last rites and cremation of their deceased family members. They don’t believe in burying so perform these rituals on the bank of the rivers. The site at the banks of Bagmati river in Pashupati to those who don’t value their life can be an eye opener. You will see so many fire pits burning alongside the river and hundreds of mourning relatives of the deceased along the way.
Panoramic View Of Pashupatinath from small hill top
If you are on the banks of Bagmati inside Pashupati Complex you can hike up a small hill towards Mrigasthali (deer park) in Pashupati outer complex. This small hilltop has a viewpoint, several benches and various coffee shops along with numerous small temples and gives you a nice panoramic view of ehr entire Pashupati Complex from above. You will see the roofs of the inner Temple complex, here. The view is majestic and remains filled with expectators all year round.
Visit Kirateshwar Oldest Archaeological Statue (Shiva Lingam)
The Pashupatinath area contains the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple. It is located on the east bank of the Bagmati River, between Pashupatinath and Guheshwori. The temple is the religious hub for Kirat people. They believe that the Shiva lingam of the temple is the oldest archaeological Shiva lingam in Nepal.
The temple has Kirat prist and is also a symbol of religious tolerance. Likewise, Kirateshwor is equally famous for its Sangeet Ashram (music school) which organizes concerts every full moon. Since 1991, the school teaches vocal and musical instrument instruction, and holds famous local musical competitions as well.
See The Statue Of Birupakshya (Virupaksha)
On the right bank of the Bagmati River, (east of the Pashupatinath temple) there is an idol of Virupaksha. Half of Virupaksha's body lies under ground, and the other half is above ground. Many believe that the idol is slowly emerging. They also believe, if the entire statue comes out then the world will be destroyed. Virupaksha is also known as Kali because his full emergence will end the Kali Yuga.
Attend Evening Aarti at Pashupatinath
Very aesthetic aarti ceremony begins at 6 pm in Pashupatinath. It has been a regular tradition since 2006. People believe the aarti in Pashupatinath first took place in the year 200 AD.
In the aarti, three priests form a line on the bank of the Bagmati, facing the pinnacle of Pashupatinath Temple. They lit oil lamps, lanterns, and other religious elements and chant sacred mantras during aarti. A group of devotees begins lighting up three large structures with fifty-four diyo (small oil lamps) raised to Lord Shiva. In perfectly coordinated motions, the priests first dip the lights four times on the bottom and circle them seven times on the top. People then begin to sing bhajan and dance along with the kirtan mandali.
Meditate at Pashupatinath
For thousands of years, Hindu gods and ancient sages have meditated at Pashupatinath. Because meditation boosts vitality and enthusiasm, you should try meditating in Pashupatinath in the early hours. Every morning, you can join free groups that practice Vedic yoga and meditation. So, if you want to meditate in the epicenter of Tantric Energy, there is no better place to go than Pashupatinath.
If you have interest in eastern philosophy, these Pashupatinath stores and stalls may be a good place to buy religious and spiritual books in Nepal. It is a laborious task to go from store to store looking for religious books; instead, you can purchase a variety of religious scripts, books, and years of knowledge in the stores surrounding the Pashupatinath Complex. You can find the best religious and spiritual books such as Mahabharat, Ramayan, the Srimad Bhagavad Gita or Buddhist books in these small stores. These spiritual books will also help you understand your inner feelings. As a result, whenever you visit the Pashupatinath complex, don't forget to pick up a few books.