Pashupatinath Temple is located on the Western Bank of river Bagmati. This temple is considered as a masterpiece of Hindu architecture. The main attraction of this temple is the shining Shivalinga and the huge golden statue of Shiva’s Bull, Nandi.
Pashupatinath Temple, the largest Hindu temple worshipping the Hindu God Shiva who is known as Pashupati. The master of the whole universe is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in Nepal.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. Built-in the 5th century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered here.
It is believed that those who die in Pashupatinath Temple are reborn as a human, regardless of any misconduct that could worsen their karma. The exact day of their death is predicted by astrologers of the temple. If you are attracted to the places where the spirit of death can be felt, then consider Pashupatinath as your first destination. It is a temple with a special atmosphere of death; death is present in almost every ritual and every corner of it.
Facts about Pashupatinath Temple
Hinduism followers all around the world know and worship Lord Shiva as the lord of all lords. Instead of being just God, he’s the source of energy and hence is infinite. In his honor, Nepal has the oldest and most prestigious temple, the Pashupatinath Temple. Every month, thousands of worshippers visit the temple complex and shower the deity with devotion. But how well did you know about the greatest temple built in Nepal? Here are seven shocking facts about Pashupatinath Temple that you probably didn’t know of:
- Only Hindus are allowed to enter the main temple complex, however, non-Hindus can explore all other parts of the complex.
- On the eastern bank of the Bagmati river, there are numerous single-story religious buildings devoted to Shiva built from stone. These buildings look like crypts from outside, but they are sacral structures that hold lingma (erect phallus), the symbol of Lord Shiva.
- There are numerous platforms for funeral pyres in the right bank of the Bagmati river.
- Even the complex practices funeral ceremonies there is no smell of decaying flesh, but rather smells more like clabber mixed with different spices.
- It is believed that soap was invented here after women washed clothes in the river. As the water contain animal fat and ashes of cremated Shiva followers.
- The whole complex has numerous monkeys, pigeons, and deers. No doubt, why Shiva is regarded as the patron of animals.
- Every year thousands of sadhus and yogis visit this place on the main occasions. Moreover, one can find sadhus all most throughout the year. You can also take their photos in exchange for a few bucks.
The History of Pashupatinath
According to Gopalraj Aalok Vamsavali, the oldest ever chronicle in Nepal, this temple was built by Prachanda Deva, a Lichchhavi King, who according to the stone inscription erected by Jayadeva 11 in the courtyard of Pashupatinath in 753 AD, happened to be the ruler 39 generations before Manadeva (464-505 AD).
The richly ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or holy symbol of Lord Shiva. There are many legends describing how the temple of Lord Aalok Pashupatinath came to existence here.
The whole area of Pashupatinath is comprised of 264 hectares of land that includes 518 temples and monuments. The inner courtyard includes temples and shrines like Unmatta Bhairava Temple, Vasuki Nath Temple, Budhanilkantha shrine, Kirtimukha Bhairava shrine, Hanuman shrine, Surya Narayana Temple, 184 Sivalinga shrine, and many others. Whereas the outer complex includes Virat Swaroop Temple, Guhyeshwari Temple, Ram Mandir, 12 Jyotirlinga and Pandra Shivalaya, and many more.
Pashupatinath Temple Timings
Pashupatinath is also one of the few living cultural heritage sites in the world. Unlike other cultural sites or museums, Pashupatinath is the centre of energy with active participation of people at all times of the day, every day. Pashupatinath Temple darshan timings are from 4 am to 12 noon and again from 5 pm to 9 pm in the night. The temple stays closed from noon to 5 pm every day. Pashupatinath Temple Aarti timings are in the evening from 6-7:30 pm.
The daily rituals of Pashupatinath Temple are as follows:
- 4:00 am: West gate opens for visitors.
- 8:30 am: After arrival of Pujaris, the idols of the Lord are bathed and cleaned, clothes and jewelry 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 are welcomed to do so. It is also called Farmayishi Puja, whereby people tell the Pujari to carry out a special Puja for specific reasons. The Puja continues till 1:45 pm in the afternoon.
- 1:50 pm: Lunch is offered to the Lord in the main Pashupati Temple.
- 2:00 pm: Morning prayers end.
- 5:15 pm: The evening Aarati at the main Pashupati Temple begins.
- 6:00 pm onward: In recent times the Bagmati Ganga Aarati that is done by the banks of the Bagmati has been gaining popularity. There are larger crowds attending on Saturdays, Mondays and on special occasions. Ganga Aarati along with Shiva’s Tandava Bhajan, written by Ravana, is carried out during the evening Ganga Aarati.
- 7:00 pm: Doors close.
Western Cremation Ghats
Despite being clogged with garbage and black with pollution, the fetid 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 are the city’s most important location for open-air cremations. Fires burned here day and night after the 2015 earthquake as hundreds of families dealt with the human cost of the disaster.
Only members of the royal family can be cremated immediately in front of Pashupatinath Temple; the funerals of 10 members of the Nepali royal family took place here after the massacre in 2001. Funerals of ordinary Nepalis take place daily on the ghats to the south of the temple. Bodies are wrapped in shrouds and laid out along the riverbank, then cremated on a wooden pyre in a surprisingly businesslike way. Inevitably this is the most interesting aspect to Pashupatinath and it’s a powerful place to contemplate notions of death and mortality. Needless to say, this is a private time for relatives to grieve and tourists intruding with cameras is not appropriate.
The present condition of Pashupatinath temple
There has been very little damage at the Pashupatinath temple complex located on the banks of the holy Bagmati river. Sadly the ghats have been busy with cremations for the many people killed during the 2015 earthquake. The best way to help Nepal to recover from this devastating disaster is to come and visit later in the year.
Thing to know before going to Pashupatinath Temple.
- If you are a visitor from another country, the best time for you to go there is September to November, and the second-best time is February to April.
- The entrance fee of Pashupatinath Temple is 1,000Nepalese Rupees (about 10USD). And the main temple is restricted to Hindus only, thus all foreign visitors are not allowed to enter. Remember to bring your ID card or Passport, or you may be denied entering other temples.
- Tourists planning to watch the cremation ritual should wear a mask since the air of the outdoor burning ghat maybe kind of pungent. If the death rite in the public is a big taboo for you, better avoid the schedule.
- Visitors need to buy tickets from the office at the entrance. Personal free guide and taking pictures with Sadhus are pay-for-services.
- According to temple rules, Inside the temple, taking a camera or taking photographs is strictly prohibited.
- Remove your shoes before entering the temple. Outside, around the temple, it is ok to put on your shoes.
- Never think of drinking alcohol and smoking inside the temple.
- There is a culture to go around the temple, so always use the clockwise direction to go around temple.
- You are not allowed to carry any items that are made of Leather (like Leather Jacket, Purse, belt etc) inside the temple.
- Beware of pick pocketers.
How To Reach Pashupatinath Temple
The Pashupatinath Temple lies to the southeast Kathmandu City for about 5km and it is close to northern Boudhanath Stupa and the southeast Tribhuvan International Airport for only 2km, approximately drive for 10 mins. There are regular bus services from Kathmandu (from Ratna Park or City Bus Station) to Patan. It takes approximately 45 minutes to reach Goshala, the stop for Pashupatinath. Better to hire a private car and drop the pilgrims at Ring Road, west of Pashupatinath.
Conclusion of Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath temple is one of the greatest temple and a pilgrimage site for all hindus. Lord Shiva is the god of all gods, so he is the most worshipped and respected among our lords. Thousands of devotees pay visit to him everyday and hundreds will be chanting “Jaya Shambho!” on top of their lungs.