Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for Shiva devotees. Built in the 5th century and later renovated by the Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed since the turn of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered here.
The largest temple complex in Nepal, it straddles the Bagmati River, considered sacred by Hindus. The pagoda-style main temple has a gilded roof, four silver-covered sides, and exquisite wood carvings. Temples dedicated to various other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround the Pashupatinath Temple.
Devotees at night Aarati by the Bagmati river at Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu, Nepal.
The cremation of the Hindus takes place on elevated platforms along the river. Only Hindus are allowed through the doors of the main temple. The inner sanctuary has a Shiva lingam and in front of the temple is the largest statue of the bull Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva. There are hundreds of Shiva lingams within the compound. The great Maha Shivaratri festival in spring attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees from Nepal and India. Further east, before Bagmati reaches Pashupati, is the Guheshwori temple dedicated to Shiva’s consort, Sati Devi.
Visit Pashupatinath for an unrivaled combination of religious, cultural, and spiritual experiences. Located 3 km northwest of Kathmandu on the banks of the Bagmati River, the temple area also includes the Deupatan, Jaya Bageshori, Gaurighat (Holy Bath), Kutumbahal, Gaushala, Pingalasthan and Sleshmantak forests. There are around 492 temples, 15 Shivalayas (shrines of Lord Shiva) and 12 Jyotirlinga (phallic shrines) to explore.
Devotees bathing by the Bagmati River on the banks of the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The Pashupatinath Temple is one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal the Kathmandu Valley. It is also a cremation site where the last rites of the Hindus are performed. Cremation rituals are not for the faint-hearted; visitors are still seen looking curiously from across the river from the hillside. Visit Pashupatinath Temple for an out of this world experience.
Daily rituals at Pashupatinath temple
Pashupatinath is also one of the few living cultural heritage sites in the world. Unlike other cultural sites or museums, Pashupatinath is the center of energy with the active participation of people at all times of the day, every day. The daily rituals of the Pashupatinath Temple are as follows:
- 4:00 am: The west gate opens for visitors.
- 8:30 am: After the arrival of Pujaris, the idols of the Lord are bathed and cleaned, clothes and jewels are changed for the day.
- 9:30 am: Baal Bhog or breakfast is offered to the Lord.
- 10:00 am: Then, people who want to do Puja can do it. It is also called Farmayishi Puja, so people tell the Pujari to perform a special Puja for specific reasons. The Puja continues until 1:45 pm in the afternoon.
- 1:50 pm: Lunch is offered to the Lord in the main temple of Pashupati.
- 2:00 pm: Morning prayers end.
- 5:15 pm: The evening Aarati begins at the main temple of Pashupati.
- 6:00 pm onwards: In recent times, the Bagmati Ganga Aarati that takes place on the banks of the Bagmati has been gaining popularity. There are large crowds that attend on Saturdays, Mondays, and on special occasions. Ganga Aarati along with Shiva’s Tandava Bhajan, written by Ravana, is performed during the Ganga Aarati night.
- 7:00 pm: Doors close.
Apart from the daily rituals, the special observers are traced during the special dates of the lunar calendar.
Things To Do in PASHUPATINATH TOUR
Pashupatinath is more than a religious destination. It is a combination of religion, art and culture. Offer peace and devotion. The temple, spread over 246 hectares of land, abounds in temples and monuments. Hundreds of rituals are performed here every day. The temple compound is an open museum. This national treasure was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.
This temple is an important destination for art historians. It shows a variety of temple designs, some of which are Dome style, Pagoda style, Shikhara style, etc. In addition, there are a variety of statues and sculptures around the complex. There are statues made of stone, metal, and wood. The gate and pillars around the temple area are carved in beautiful shapes of God and taps.
Pashupatinath stretches from the main temple of Pashupatinath to Guheshwori. There are many famous temples within this area, including Bhuwaneshwori, Dakshinamurti, Tamreshwor, Panchdewal, Bishwarupa, and others.
The Kali temple, located on the banks of the Bagmati River, has an interesting and mythological aspect. The myth is that the statue grows out of its original place and that the world will come to an end when the half-in, half-out figure is fully exposed.
Each temple has its own set of rituals to perform, and each temple has specific values and customs. On the other side of the river is a small Shleshmantak forest, home to animals such as deer and monkeys. A traditional crematorium stands on the banks of the Bagmati River.
The vast area of Pashupatinath encompasses cultural heritage, forests and water resources that must be conserved and managed. Therefore, in 1996 the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) was founded. Since then, activities in Pashupati have been governed by this administrative body.