PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE

PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE 

The temple lies 5 km to the east of the city center. Located on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River, this temple is the most revered Hindu temple in Nepal. Bagmati River is actually an extremely sacred river; Pashupatinath is the Nepali equivalent of Varanasi on the sacred River Ganges. The cremation Ghats along the Bagmati is the city’s most important location for open-air cremations. Fire is burned here day and night. Only members of the royal family can be cremated immediately in front of Pashupatinath Temple. The main temple is only open to Hindus; Non-Hindus can observe the area from other side of Bagmati River. The most important festival observed here is Shivaratri, or ‘the Night of Lord Shiva’ when devotees and pilgrims from far and wide across Nepal and India, including sadhus (barely attired holy men with long locks of hair and smeared in ashes) and ascetics, throng the temple to have a darshan (glimpse) of the sacred Shiva lingam. The other holy occasion when devotees descend to the temple in large numbers is on Teej (a festival solely observed by Hindu women) in mid-September. The temple of Lord Shiva is considered one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. The two-tiered pagoda with golden roofs and silver doors houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple existed before 400 A.D. Near the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River lies Guheswari, where, according to mythology, a portion of Sati Devi, Lord Shiva’s consort, fell when a grief-stricken Shiva wandered aimlessly across the earth carrying her dead body on his shoulders following her self-immolation.

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