Pashupatinath Temple pops up in mind the moment one talks about Nepal. Nothing could be better than Pashupatinath Temple to recharge the soul, to come closer to nature and have peace of mind away from the chaos, and hustle and bustle of the city. Whether one wants to go for pilgrimage or want to soak in nature’s beauty or want to escape from the noisy roads and chaotic streets the most effective way is to visit somewhere close to nature where the aura is charged with positive vibes and rejuvenating energies.

There are numerous temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions in the precinct of the Temple that raised over the centuries on the banks of Bagmati River. It is one of the UNESCO’s seven monument groups of Kathmandu Valley. The Vaishnava temple complex with a Rama Temple of the 14th century and the Guhyeshwari Temple, as mentioned in the centuries-old 11th-century manuscripts are the most popular among them.

The temple was erected by Lichchavi King Prachanda Dev in the 5th century after the termites consumed the earlier structure. Here will be exploring the importance of Pashupatinath temple.

Where Is It Located?

The Pashupatinath temple is located close to 5 km north-east of Kathmandu on the banks of the Bagmati River. 

Being in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley, it has the most mesmerizing views to be clicked besides visiting the Temple. It is one of the most sacred Hindu Temples, which all Hindus wish to visit at least once in their lifetime.

Where Is Pashupatinath Mentioned In The Shiv Puran?

The Shiv Puran has exclusively mentioned this Temple as the bestower of all wishes in Kotirudra Samhita, Chapter 11, on the Shivalingas of the North. 

It is one of the 275 Tamil Paadal Petra Sthalams or the Holy Abodes of Lord Shiva on the continent.

Also Read: Jakhu Temple - The Ultimate Abode Of The Lord Hanuman

Where Pashupatinath Is Mentioned In The Shiv Puran?

The Shiv Puran has exclusively mentioned this Temple as the bestower of all wishes in Kotirudra Samhita, Chapter 11 on the Shivalingas of the North.

It is one of the 275 Tamil Paadal Petra Sthalams or the Holy Abodes of Lord Shiva on the continent.

How Old Is The Temple?

The Temple’s existence dates back to 400 B.C. 

As per Nepal Mahatmaya and Himyatkhanda, Lord Shiva renowned as Aalok Pashupatinath gained great fame here as Pashupati, which means to be the Lord of all Pashus (animals), no matter whether they are living or dead.

What’s The Legend Behind Pashupatinath Temple?

There are many legends behind Pashupatinath Temple as -

  1. The Cow Legend
  2. The Lichchhavi Legend
  3. The Devalaya Legend 

and many others

However, the cow legend is the oldest and the most acceptable one.

What Is The Cow Legend?

Once Shiva and Parvati take refuge in the Kathmandu valley at the bank of Bagmati River. Shiva got so much immersed in the beauty of the surroundings that they decided to stay there for some more time unnoticed. And to do this, they both changed themselves into antelope and visited many places there. After some time, the other Gods got anxious about them and started searching. They finally traced them, but Shiva and Parvati were not ready to give up.

The gods, later while trying to catch the antelope, grabbed him by his horn to force him to resume his divine form. But Shiva was not willing to give up. And in the push and pull, the horn broke out. The broken horn later got buried and lost somewhere there.

Also Read: Chitkul - 500 Years Old Mathi Temple

How Does The Temple Get Traced?

The Temple got traced many Centuries after Lord Shiva mesmerized with the beauty of Kathmandu Valley turned to antelope along with Maa Parvati and later returned to his original form upon forcing by the gods. The herdsmen astonished when they found a cow regularly coming there and milking over the place where the horn got buried. To make out what makes the cow milk that particular location only the herdsmen dig out that place deep, and came across what we today revered as Lord Shiva divine Lingam in the form of Pashupatinath.

What Does Pashupatinath Stand For?

Pashupatinath, as the name mentions, stand for the Lord of all animals, or in other words – the one who takes care of all the animals of the world.

It is a century-old belief that whom so ever worship Lord Shiva and the lingam there, he/she is never reborn as an animal.

How Much Is The Spread Of The Temple?

The Temple spreads in the area of 0.64 hectares of land and includes 518 temples and monuments. The main Pagoda style temple is in the fortified courtyard within the complex. The complex is on guard by Military Force Nepal Army and Semi-Military Nepal Police. Along with the living quarter, there is a police outpost also. A huge bronze statue of Nandi bull stands in front of the western door. Both Vaishnav and Shiva devotees regularly visit here to perform puja, prayers and other rituals here.

The Temple has a richly ornamented pagoda house, the sacred linga or holy symbol of Lord Shiva.

Other than Pashupatinath shrine there are many other temples and shrines in the inner courtyard like Vasuki Nath Temple, Surya Narayana Temple, Hanuman Shrine and many others. Similarly, on the outer complex, there are many other temples as Ram Mandir, Guhyeshwari Temple, Virat Swaroop temple and many more.

Also Read: Gupteshwar Caves - The Sacred Shivlingam Caves

How To Reach The Pashupatinath Temple?

One has to reach Kathmandu to go to Pashupatinath temple. Tribhuvan International Airport is the nearest airport there, which is about six kilometres from the Kathmandu city centre. 

The temple is around 2 km from the airport and one can easily hire a taxi or a cab to be there.

One could avail Indian Travel Store Nepal tour package and can be there conveniently.

From Where To Enter The Temple?

The Temple with four entrances in the cardinal directions has the western entrance as the main entrance to the temple courtyard while the other three entrances are opened only during the festivals. The Practising Hindus of South Asian diaspora besides Buddhists of Nepali and Tibetan diaspora are only allowed into the inner temple courtyard. Other than Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, no one is allowed inside the courtyard.

What Are The Timings Of The Temple?

It’s important to know the Pashupatinath temple timings before arriving there. The inner temple courtyard opens from 4 am to 7 pm albeit the inner Temple where Lingam is established, which remains open from 5 am to 12 pm for morning rituals and from 5 pm to 7 pm for evening rituals. In the Temple, devotees are not allowed to enter the innermost Garbhagriha premises but are however allowed to watch from the exterior premises.

 What Is The Unique Feature At Pashupatinath Temple?

There is a unique feature of this temple that only 4 priests can touch the idol. Two of them are from Bhatts while the other two are from Bhandaris. The Bhatt performs worship and daily rituals, whereas Bhandaris are the helpers to the temple. The caretaker priests are not allowed to touch the Lingam. 

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