Pashupatinath Temple is a crucial historical, religious and tourist site in Kathmandu, Nepal. This temple is located in Ward No. 8 of Kathmandu Metropolitan city on the banks of Bagmati River. This temple and its close by region have been the centre of worship and faith to Hindus all over the world since ancient times. Occupying a large area around Devpatan, Jayavageshwari, Gaurighat, Chabahil, Kutambahal, Sifal, Gaushala, Pingalasthan and Shleshmantak forest, Pashupati area covers an area of 264 hectares. This temple was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Pashupatinath Temple has been the centre of attraction to the different sects like Buddhism, Ganapati, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Jainism etc. Bagmati River has added more charm and importance to this temple, where various rituals are organized from birth to death. The temple area of Pashupatinath looks like an open museum as it is the oldest religious site in the Kathmandu Valley, which has very ancient shrines, temples, statues, and ancient records. One can find thousands of Shivlings around the temple. Famous as the Pashupati region since the Lichhavi period, various idols dating back to the 3rd century BC have been found in this region.
Pashupatinath is actually the name of Lord Shiva. Shivaji’s name is also mentioned in many scriptures and Vedas, but Shivaji’s real name is Pashupatinath in the Shiva Purana. Lord Shiva is called ‘Pashupatinath’ because he appeared in the form of an animal when Pandavas from Mahabharata came to visit him to be freed from the sin of genocide.
Pashupatinath Temple’s Facts
- Pashupatinath opens every day at 4o’clock in the morning.
- Pashupatinath is bathed and handled by Bhatta priest.
- All the gates are open for the devotees from 9.30 am to 11 am. At this time, special worship is also performed.
- Pudding is offered as an offering to Pashupatinath.
- Aarti begins half an hour before sunset i.e., 5:30 pm
- Except on special days, the temple usually closes at 7 o’clock.
History of the Pashupatinath
Pashupati Jyotirlinga is believed to have originated by itself. In the Swayambhu Purana, it is mentioned that Lokeshwar appears in the orchard as the god who will be surrounded by the gods of the three worlds like Harihar, Hiranyagarbha, Ganesh, etc., as well as a large group of yogis. He will also be worshiped by local Brahmins, Bhatta, Kshatriyas, and Shudras. And his name will be Pashupatinath.
This temple is built in Nepali pagoda style. So, all the features of this temple are designed in the pagoda style which is very beautifully carved by the wood. One of the attractive architectures of this temple is its two-tiered roof is designed by using gold and copper. Silver is used in the construction of the four main doors of the temple. The golden pinnacle in this temple symbolizes religious thought here. There is a large bronze idol of Nandi in the western gate of this temple.
Ganga Arati on Pashupatinath at evining
Crowd in Pashupatinath Temple
This temple is one of the 275 holy places of Shiva in the world. As Pashupatinath mainly worships Shivaji, Shivaratri festival is celebrated with special significance here. Besides this, huge crowds can be seen in this temple in the month of Shrawan, Teej, Janai Purnima etc. Monday is regarded as the day of Shiva so every week on this day pilgrims plan their visit to this holy place. Shivaratri is a national holiday celebrated all over Nepal. Shivaratri festival is celebrated every year on the day of Falgun Krishnapaksha Chaturdashi. Devotees from across the country flock to Shiva temples, including Pashupatinath temple since morning during this festival. On this day, a large number of Hindus from Nepal and neighbouring India visits to worship Aradhya Deva Pashupati i.e., Shivaji.
Temples around Pashupatinath area
There is a beautiful temple of Vatsaleshwari on the bank of Bagmati between Aryaghat and Bhasmeshwar. There is no idol but only instrument and it is worshiped as Siddhikali. The Vatsaleshwari Jatra is the most important Jatra celebrated in the Pashupati region and is celebrated every year for four days from Chaitra Krishna Chaturdashi.
There is a magnificent and huge Vishwarupa temple in the style of Rajputana dome in the middle of the forest on the east side of Mrigasthali. It was built during the reign of Jang Bahadur. The temple houses a huge sloping statue of Lord Shiva. The temple is surrounded by a chaughara and in the four corners of the chaughara there are double idols of Shiva Parvati, Laxminarayan, Sitaram and Radhakrishna.
Along with the Vetaleshwar temple, there is a huge standing statue of Anantnarayan made entirely of terracotta. This statue of Mallaka is one of the most spectacular statues in the Pashupatinath region.
- Kirateshwar Mahadev
The Kirateshwar Temple on the hill above Gaurighat is another must-see temple in the Pashupatinath region. It was established during the Kirat period. There is a legend that the name of the temple was changed to Kirateshwar as Lord Shankara lived here in the form of Kirateshwar.
This temple is located on the southern bank of Bagmati river. It is believed that the name of the temple remained as Guheshwori because it was formed on the place where the Guhriya of the goddess Sati fell. Special worship is performed at this temple from during Ghatasthapana. The glory of Guhriyeshwari is mentioned in Nepal Mahatmya, Himavat Khanda, Sriswasthani Bratakatha etc.
There is a statue of ‘Birupakshya’ at the back of this temple. In Nepal, it also known as ‘Kaliko Murti’. It is also considered as one of the oldest statues of Nepal. Virupaksha is also considered to be the human form of Lord Shiva. The statue is said to be moving slowly above the ground. When this idol rises completely from the ground, it is believed that this world will end.
Thus, Pashupatinath is a living heritage in this modern world, where one can enjoy peace, warm love, and get rid of the vicious circle of pain and sadness.
-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal