Pasupatinath temple is one of the most predominant, sacred, and biggest sanctuaries allotted to the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 1979 in Nepal. The major highlight of this masterly temple is the gold pinnacle and four silver doors. Modeled in the 5th century, this shrine is cited after one of the names of the great lord shiva which means lord of the animals. Pasupatinath is located around 5 km to the eastern part of Kathmandu on the banks of the righteous Bagmati river. The total area the temple envelops is about 246 hectares including all the small temples, crematoriums, monuments, markets, and the Pashupati “Briddha ashram” (old age home). The overwhelming sphere of Pashupatinath is a major pilgrimage site for the devotees of the Hindu religion all over the world, especially in Nepal and India.
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How to reach Pashupatinath Temple?
Situated on the outskirts of the Kathmandu valley, Pashupatinath is easily approached by private and public transport. Cabs in the Tribhuvan airport area will take you on a 10 min ride to reach the premises of the temple whereas from Thamel and Kathmandu Durbar Square it will take you 20 mins. Bike services like Pathao, Indriver, and Tootle are also easy modes of transport these days. Many public vehicles cruising around the valley are also available but overcrowded to reach the temple.
Best time to visit/explore Pashupatinath Temple?
Pasupatinath temple is a devotee’s go-to religious stop throughout the year in Nepal. The Pagoda-styled temple is embellished with garlands and luminous lamps around Hindu festivals like Mahashiva Ratri, Bala Chaturdashi, Hartalika Teej, and many more. On other usual days, visitors can experience the Pashupati temple Abhishekam from 9 am to 11 am all the four silver doors are open showcasing the Shivalinga inside the main temple. Mondays and Saturdays are mostly crowded due to some religious values. September to November is a favorable time of the year to visit Pashupatinath when there is less crowd and you can enjoy the serenity of the temple.
Only the people who practice Hinduism and Buddhism are allowed inside the main gate of Pashupati, whereas people from other religions can appreciate the aura of the surroundings from the outside where you can get a glimpse of the statue of Nandi (lord shiva's bull).
Myths about Pashupatinath
Numerous myths and mythologies related to the origin of Pashupatinath are explained in many good books and scripts. It is believed that the inauguration of Pashupatinath was even before the Vedas were written.
Except all the folktales connected its origin, the famous one is that lord shiva and Parvati once disguised themselves in the form of deers on the bank of the Bagmati river. Later he refused to return to his normal form so deities had to use force on him during which one of his antlers detached from his head. The antler was the very first lingams native worshiped but it got buried in the land and disappeared. Subsequently, a herdsman found the antler when one of his cows showed him the location by flooding her milk in the lingam.
The architecture of Pashupatinath Temple
Constructed in pagoda style, the framework of the Pashupatinath temple including other temples was artfully sketched and built by some skilled craftsmen of Nepal back in the day. Over 492 shrines inside the Pashupati premises have some distinct and intricate handwork along with the carved wooden rafters, monuments, cubic sculptures, gold pinnacle on the roof, silver doors, and two Garbhagrihas making the area visually pleasing. The current complex of Pashupatinath temple was constructed in 1692 CE by Prachanda deva, a Licchavi king after the five-storey architecture built by Supushpa Deva in 800 AD. was destroyed by termites and earthquakes. Numerous funeral pyres are installed on the right bank of the Bagmati river.
Sandhya Arati at Pashupatinath Temple
A dedicated arati to the almighty is held on the eastern side of the bank of the Bagmati river every evening around 7 pm. Three priests are assigned to offer prayers to God together with the melody of devotional songs and hymns. A surprising view of hundreds of religious admirers floating away with otherworldly vibrations is evident during the arati. The open-air cremation is something that you will be able to encounter attending the mantras chanted by the priests.
During your visit to Nepal, grab a chance to experience the heavenly sandhya arati and take yourself on a spiritual voyage. Pasupatinath temple is considered one of the most significant pilgrimage sites for Hindus but has become a major attraction for trekkers from all over the world as a part of the city tour. To bump into a surreal episode on your trip to Nepal, contact us for more details about the cultural and heritage sites of Nepal.