Pashupatinath Temple is a revered Hindu temple located in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is dedicated to Lord Pashupatinath, who is considered to be the patron deity of Nepal and is one of the four most sacred shrines of Lord Shiva in the world. The temple dates back to the 5th century and is one of the oldest temple structures in Nepal.
The temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati River and is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus. The temple complex covers an area of approximately 284 hectares and includes several smaller temples, shrines, and Ghats (steps leading down to the river) for rituals and ceremonies.
The main temple is a two-tiered pagoda structure with a golden roof and richly ornamented silver doors. The temple’s inner sanctum houses the idol of Lord Pashupatinath, which is carved from black stone and is surrounded by several smaller idols of other Hindu gods and goddesses.
One of the most significant features of the temple is its elaborate architecture, which is a fusion of Nepali and Newari styles. The temple is also famous for its intricate wood carvings, metal works, and paintings, which adorn its walls and doors.
Apart from its religious significance, the temple is also an important cultural and historical site, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The temple attracts thousands of devotees and tourists every year, and is a significant part of Nepal’s cultural heritage.
In addition to the main temple, the temple complex also includes several smaller shrines, courtyards, and Ghats, where devotees perform various rituals and ceremonies, including cremation ceremonies on the banks of the Bagmati River. The temple is also a center of learning, with several ancient scriptures and manuscripts preserved within its walls.
In conclusion, the Pashupatinath Temple is a magnificent example of Hindu temple architecture and a testament to the rich cultural and religious heritage of Nepal. It is a sacred site for Hindus, and a major tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world, offering a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of Nepal.
The History of Pashupatinath
The exact origins of the Pashupatinath Temple are not known, but it is believed to date back to the 5th century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Pashupatinath, who is considered to be the patron deity of Nepal and is one of the four most sacred shrines of Lord Shiva in the world.
Over the centuries, the temple has undergone several renovations and expansions, and has played an important role in Nepali history and culture. During the Malla dynasty (12th-18th centuries), the temple became a major center of Hindu religion and culture, and was considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the region.
In the 17th century, the temple was further expanded and embellished, and its current form is largely a result of these renovations. In 1979, the temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing its importance as a cultural and historical site.
Despite several earthquakes and political unrest in the region, the Pashupatinath Temple has managed to withstand the test of time and remains one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in the world. Today, the temple attracts thousands of devotees and tourists every year, and is considered a significant part of Nepal’s cultural heritage.
Facts about Pashupatinath Temple
Here are some facts about Pashupatinath Temple:
- Age: The Pashupatinath Temple is one of the oldest temple structures in Nepal and is believed to date back to the 5th century.
- Dedication: The temple is dedicated to Lord Pashupatinath, who is considered to be the patron deity of Nepal and is one of the four most sacred shrines of Lord Shiva in the world.
- Location: The temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Pashupatinath Temple has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
- Complex size: The temple complex covers an area of approximately 284 hectares and includes several smaller temples, shrines, and Ghats (steps leading down to the river) for rituals and ceremonies.
- Architecture: The temple is famous for its elaborate architecture, which is a fusion of Nepali and Newari styles.
- Artistic features: The temple is also famous for its intricate wood carvings, metal works, and paintings, which adorn its walls and doors.
- Religious significance: The Pashupatinath Temple is a revered Hindu temple and is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus.
- Cremation ceremonies: The temple is also the site of cremation ceremonies for the Hindus in Kathmandu.
- Cultural and historical significance: In addition to its religious significance, the temple is also an important cultural and historical site and is a significant part of Nepal’s cultural heritage.
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.