Shri Pashupatinath Temple of Nepal: There are Two Shri Pashupatinath temples that are famous in the world, one in Kathmandu in Nepal and the other in Mandsaur in India. In both the temples, the Murtis are of similar shape. Nepal’s Shri Pashupatinath Temple is located in Kathmandu on the banks of the Bagmati River and is included in UNESCO World Heritage. This temple is grand and attracts tourists from all over the country and abroad.
From the past, the entire land of the Himalayas has been the center of Maheshwar philosophy. In the forest festival of Mahabharata, the area of Lord Pashupatinath has been called Maheshwarpur and it has been said that by going to Maheshwarpur, offering fast to Lord Shankar and fulfilling all the wishes is fulfilled.
Also Read: 12 Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva
Shri Pashupatinath Temple
“Pashu” means Jeeva or Jiva “Pati” means Swami and Nath means owner or God. This means that Shri Pashupatinath is the lord or god of all the creatures of the world. In another sense, Pashupatinath means the master of life. Devotees who visit the Kedarnath in the high Himalayan region are believed to have a special connection with Pashupatinath in their journey to the four Dham of Uttarakhand.
माहेश्वरपुर गत्वा अर्चयित्वा वृषध्वजम्।
ईप्सितांल्लभते कामानुपवासान्न संशय ?
The importance of Pashupatinath and Kedarnath has been specially described in Shiv Puran. According to Shiv Puran, the head of the same Shiva Deity of Lord Shiva is Pashupatinath. Therefore it is said that even after the Char Dham Yatra, the yatra is not complete without seeing Pashupatinath.
The mythology of Shri Pashupatinath Temple of Nepal
There are many legends or mythology describing how it came into existence about the Shri Pashupatinath Temple of Shiva. Some of them are described below: –
- There is a mention in Skanda Purana about Shri Pashupatinath Temple. According to this, the Seshapantak forest was especially loved by Lord Sadashiva. Lord Shankar roamed as an antelope with Parvati. All the gods were sad to find Lord Shiva among them, and searching for them, they became Sheshamantak. There, Lord Shiva appeared as a horned Trinetra deer. Brahma, Vishnu, and Indra recognized him and tried to tame him by holding the horn, but Lord Shiva jumped and reached across the Bagmati river, during which it is said that his horn was broken into four pieces. After this, Lord Pashupati appeared here in the form of Chaturmukh Linga. From then on he started living as a Pashupati on the west bank of the Bagmati River.
- There is a legend associated with Lord Shiva in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. According to this legend, Shri Pashupatinath Temple is also related to Shri Kedarnath Temple, one of the Panchkedars dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said that when the Pandavas appeared to the Pandavas in the form of a bull by Shiva. Seeing the Pandavas, Lord Shiva took the form of a bull and started running away. Those who later entered the earth, but before they were fully absorbed, Bhima had caught his tail. The place where Bhima did this work is presently known as Kedarnath Dham. Since that time, Lord Shankar is worshipped in Shri Kedarnath in the shape of a bull’s back. It is believed that when Lord Shiva disappeared as a bull, the upper part of his torso appeared in the mouth of Kathmandu. Now there is a famous temple of Sri Pashupatinath. The arms of Shiva appeared at Tungnath, at Mukh Rudranath, at the navel Madmaheshwar, and at Jata Kalpeshwar. Hence Shri Kedarnath with these four places is called Panchkedar. There are grand temples of Shiva here. In the Puranas, this story is mentioned in detail in the name of the legend of Panch Kedar.
History of the Shri Pashupatinath Temple
This linga is believed to have been established even before the Veda was written. Shri Pashupati has been the presiding deity of the ancient rulers of the Kathmandu Valley. There is no proven history of the construction of this temple of the Pashupati sect, but at some places, it is mentioned that the temple was built by Pashupraksha of the Somdev dynasty in the third century BC.
It is also believed that the Jyotirlinga of Shri Pashupatinath Temple was reputed by the Gwalas. After the Gwalas, the Kirat kings (किरात राजाओ), the Lichchhavi dynasty (लिच्छवि वंश), and the kings of the Malla dynasty (मल्ल वंश) built this sacred temple from time to time and it acquired its present form by the time of the kings of the Shah dynasty.
In the devastating earthquake in April 2015, some of the outer buildings of the World Heritage Site of Shri Pashupatinath Temple were completely destroyed while the main temple of Pashupatinath and the sanctum sanctorum of the temple were not damaged in any way.
Priests of Shri Pashupatinath Temple:
Indian Brahmins were invited by the kings of Nepal from 1747 to serve the Lord in the Pashupatinath temple. Later a king of the ‘Malla dynasty’ appointed a South Indian Brahmin as the head priest of the temple. It was the South Indian Bhatt Brahmins who were appointed as the head priests of Shri Pashupatinath temple. During the period of the Prachanda government in Nepal, the monopoly of Indian Brahmins was abolished and the influence of worship was handed over to the Nepalese people.
Methodology of Shri Pashupatinath temple
Shri Pashupatinath Temple situated on the west bank of the Bagmati River, 5 km from the city of Kathmandu, is located as a specimen of attractive Nepali architecture. The roof of this magnificent temple is gold-plated and the walls are silver studded. This sacred campus of the Pashupatinath region has been a special place of worship for Hinduism as well as various sects.
Spread over an area of 264 hectares, the Pashupatinath region today has 235 diverse style seductive temples, which belong to various branches of Vedic religion such as Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Shaktas, etc. Two monasteries of Buddhists and a stupa and two Nanak monasteries are also located in this area.
Many monasteries, ashrams, and dharamshalas are here for the accommodation of devotees and saints. The temples like Gauri, Kirateshwar, Grihayakali, Baba Gorakhnath, Sitaram, Lakshmi Narayan, Lord Vishnu, Neel Saraswati, Mangalgauri, Bhasmeshwar, Mata Vatsala, Mrigeshwar, etc. are prominent.
The Methodology of Shri Pashupatinath Temple is also special. In the order of darshan, the circumambulation of the Lord Pashupatinath temple is completed first. Then there is the tradition of entering the temple. Lord Shiva is instructed to do only half the circumambulation. The water flowing northwards is also not crossed.
what we can do in the Shri Pashupatinath temple
Various religious events and festivals are celebrated throughout the year in the Shri Pashupatinath temple area. Due to special worship in Lord Pashupati Nath and other temples of the region, devotees continue to visit the festivals of Mahashivratri, Sheetalashtami, Harishayani, and Hari Bodhni Ekadashi, Srivayas Jayanti, Guru Poornima, Hari Table Teej, Navagatra, Vaikuntha Chaturdis, Bala Chatushdarshi, etc. is.
Apart from these festivals, the journeys conducted in the Pashupatinath region are also famous. Among these the verses Chaitya Yatra to Vaishakh Shukla Purnima, Trishul Yatra to Ashadh Krishna Ashtami, Sun to Ashada Shukla Saptami and Ganga Mai Yatra, Gai Yatra, Kharag Yatra, Chandra Vinayak Yatra, White Bhairava Yatra, Navdurga Yatra, Guheswari Yatra etc. are prominent.
Apart from visiting Pashupatinath, devotees also visit other religious places in Nepal. The Varah region of Sunseri, Halesi Mahadev of Khotad, Janaki Temple of Dhanusha, Devghat of Chitwan, Brajyogini of Kathmandu, Dakshin Kali, Budanil Kant, Swayambhunath, Mankamna Gorakha Kali of Gauraka, Kapil Vastu, and Valmiki Ashram are prominent.
Lord Pashupati Nath is also the God of the Gods, that is, Mahadev. His glory is found in the entire Vedic, mythological texts. The 16th chapter of Shukla Yajurveda is full of praises of Lord Pashupatinath.
Activities and things to do in Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
While Shri Pashupatinath Temple is primarily a place of worship, there are several activities and things to do in and around the temple complex that enhance the overall experience. Here are some notable activities:
- Explore the Temple Complex: Take your time to explore the various temples, shrines, and ashrams within the Pashupatinath Temple complex. Admire the beautiful architecture, intricate carvings, and religious sculptures.
- Attend Aarti (Religious Ceremony): Witness the daily Aarti (ritual worship) performed at the main temple. The Aarti usually takes place in the morning and evening, accompanied by devotional chants and the ringing of bells. It is a captivating and spiritually uplifting experience.
- Observe Religious Rituals: Observe the religious rituals performed by priests and devotees. You can witness devotees offering prayers, making offerings of flowers, fruits, and incense, and performing circumambulation (pradakshina) around the main temple.
- Visit the Ghats: Explore the ghats (cremation grounds) located along the Bagmati River adjacent to the temple. Observe the cremation ceremonies taking place and gain insights into the Hindu perspective on life, death, and the cycle of rebirth.
- Seek Blessings: Pay your respects and seek blessings from the priests or sadhus (Hindu ascetics) in the temple complex. They may offer blessings, apply a tilaka (religious mark) on your forehead, or engage in spiritual discussions.
- Participate in Festivals: If your visit coincides with major Hindu festivals like Maha Shivaratri, Teej, or Bala Chaturdashi, you can witness the grand celebrations and cultural performances. These festivals offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.
- Enjoy the Surroundings: Take a leisurely stroll along the Bagmati River and enjoy the peaceful ambience. The lush greenery and serene surroundings provide a calming environment for reflection and contemplation.
- Photography: Capture the mesmerizing beauty of the temple complex and its surroundings through photography. However, it’s important to be respectful and seek permission before taking pictures of people or specific rituals.
- Visit Nearby Attractions: Explore other nearby attractions such as Guhyeshwari Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple), and Kathmandu Durbar Square, which are in close proximity to Shri Pashupatinath Temple.
Remember to maintain a respectful attitude, follow any guidelines or rules set by the temple authorities, and be mindful of the sanctity of the place.
Best Tourist place nearby Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
There are several tourist places near Shri Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. Here are some notable ones:
- Boudhanath Stupa: Located just a few kilometres away from Shri Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in the world and a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a serene atmosphere for spiritual reflection.
- Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple): Situated on a hilltop overlooking Kathmandu Valley, Swayambhunath Stupa is another important religious site. It is known for its iconic white stupa, colourful prayer flags, and the playful monkeys that inhabit the area. The site offers panoramic views of the city.
- Kathmandu Durbar Square: Located in the heart of Kathmandu, Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to numerous palaces, temples, and historical monuments. It showcases intricate architecture and rich cultural heritage.
- Patan Durbar Square: Situated in the city of Patan, just a short distance from Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square is another UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its ancient palaces, temples, and Newari architecture. The square is a hub of traditional arts and crafts.
- Thamel: Thamel is a vibrant and bustling neighbourhood in Kathmandu known for its narrow streets, colourful shops, restaurants, and nightlife. It is a popular tourist hub offering a wide range of accommodations, shopping opportunities, and eateries.
- Garden of Dreams: A serene oasis in the heart of Kathmandu, the Garden of Dreams is a well-maintained neo-classical garden with beautifully landscaped lawns, pavilions, and fountains. It provides a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.
- Narayanhiti Palace Museum: Formerly the royal palace of Nepal, the Narayanhiti Palace now serves as a museum. Visitors can explore the opulent interiors and learn about the country’s royal history.
- Durbar Marg: Durbar Marg is a popular upscale shopping street in Kathmandu known for its boutique stores, luxury brands, and fine dining restaurants. It offers a more modern and cosmopolitan experience.
These are just a few of the many attractions in and around Kathmandu that you can visit while exploring Shri Pashupatinath Temple. Each place offers its own unique charm, history, and cultural significance.
Best time to visit Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
The best time to visit Shri Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, largely depends on personal preferences and factors such as weather, festivals, and crowd levels. Here are some considerations for choosing the best time to visit:
- Spring (March to May): The spring season in Kathmandu brings mild temperatures and blooming flowers, making it a pleasant time to visit the temple. The weather is usually clear, allowing for better visibility of the surroundings. However, do note that this season can attract a moderate number of tourists.
- Autumn (September to November): Autumn is considered the best time to visit Shri Pashupatinath Temple. The weather is generally dry, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. The festival of Maha Shivaratri, which falls between February and March, is a major highlight during this time, drawing a large number of devotees and creating a vibrant atmosphere.
- Winter (December to February): Winter in Kathmandu can be chilly, especially in the mornings and evenings. However, if you prefer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, this can be a good time to visit. Just make sure to dress warmly and check the weather forecast in advance.
- Monsoon Season (June to August): The monsoon season in Nepal brings heavy rainfall, and the temple area can become wet and muddy. Moreover, occasional landslides and roadblocks may occur due to the monsoon. Therefore, this season is generally not recommended for visiting the temple.
It’s worth noting that Shri Pashupatinath Temple is a significant pilgrimage site and can experience a higher number of visitors during major Hindu festivals like Maha Shivaratri, Teej, and Bala Chaturdashi. If you want to witness the grand celebrations and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, planning your visit during these times can be a rewarding experience.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Shri Pashupatinath Temple depends on your personal preferences, weather considerations, and the type of experience you are seeking.
How to reach Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
Shri Pashupatinath Temple is located in Kathmandu, Nepal, and can be reached through various means of transportation. Here are the common ways to reach the temple:
- By Air: If you are arriving from an international destination, you can fly into Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a pre-arranged transfer to reach Shri Pashupatinath Temple, which is approximately 6 kilometres away.
- By Taxi: Taxis are readily available throughout Kathmandu. You can hire a taxi and provide the driver with the destination as Shri Pashupatinath Temple. It is advisable to negotiate the fare beforehand or use a metered taxi.
- By Public Bus: Kathmandu has a well-connected network of public buses. You can take a local bus to Gaushala or Chabahil, which are the nearest bus stops to the temple. From there, you can either walk or take a short taxi ride to reach Shri Pashupatinath Temple.
- By Private Vehicle: If you have access to a private vehicle or are hiring one, you can use GPS or navigation apps to reach the temple. There are parking facilities available near the temple complex.
- By Walking: Depending on your location in Kathmandu, it may be possible to walk to Shri Pashupatinath Temple if it is within a reasonable distance. However, this option is more feasible if you are staying in the vicinity.
It is recommended to plan your visit in advance and consider the traffic conditions in Kathmandu, as congestion can be common during peak hours. Additionally, always keep the contact details of your accommodation or a local guide in case you need assistance with directions or any other information.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Purola Shri Pashupatinath Temple
Certainly! Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Shri Pashupatinath Temple:
Where is Shri Pashupatinath Temple located?
Shri Pashupatinath Temple is located in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.
Which deity is worshipped at Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
The main deity worshipped at Shri Pashupatinath Temple is Lord Pashupatinath, who is considered an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Is Shri Pashupatinath Temple open to non-Hindus?
Non-Hindus are allowed to visit the outer premises of the temple but are not permitted to enter the main temple building.
Are there any specific dress code requirements for visitors?
Yes, visitors are expected to dress modestly and respectfully. It is advised to wear attire that covers the shoulders, chest, and knees.
When is the best time to visit Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
The temple can be visited throughout the year. However, the major Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri attracts a large number of devotees, making it a popular time to visit for a unique cultural experience.
Are there any restrictions or guidelines for photography at the temple?
Photography is allowed in most areas of the temple complex, but it is advisable to be respectful and ask for permission before taking pictures of people or specific rituals.
Are there any nearby attractions or places of interest to visit in the vicinity of Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
Yes, some nearby attractions include Guhyeshwari Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple), and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
What is the significance of the Bagmati River in relation to Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
The Bagmati River holds great significance as it flows alongside the temple complex. It is considered a holy river, and cremation rituals take place on its banks, making it an integral part of the temple’s religious practices.
Is there an entrance fee to visit Shri Pashupatinath Temple?
Yes, there is an entrance fee for foreigners to enter the temple complex. The fee is used for the maintenance and preservation of the temple.
Please note that these answers are based on general knowledge, and it’s always a good idea to check with official sources or local authorities for the most up-to-date and accurate information before planning a visit to Shri Pashupatinath Temple.