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Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal, Arun Shanbhag
You need to be called to participate in a yatra (pilgrimage). Without the assent of the Gods, any number of obstacles, reasons, excuses will crop up and prevent you for going. Even in our family group, many dropped out for various reasons. But I am fortunate I could make this happen.

The yatra was difficult and at times fraught with danger. Appropriate then that we started by paying our respects to Shiva in the form of Pashupatinath (Lord and Caretaker of All Living Beings). He is the patron deity of Nepal and his temple in Kathmandu is worthy of a separate visit.

The temple dates to the 8th century (or earlier) with many later renovations. The Shiva linga is an imposing 3-4 ft tall with humanoid Shiva faces at each of the cardinal sides. The four faces on the linga are called: Tatpurush (East face), Aghora (South face), Sadjyota (West face) and Vamadeva (North face). The top surface facing the sky is called Ishaan. These are the names of the four side of Mount Kailash – the abode of Shiva-Parvati, and our final destination.

Above is the quadrangle leading to the entrance of the temple. On entering, you see the back of an imposing gold covered Nandi (bull) on a raised pedestal, facing the Shiva linga in devotion.
Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal, Arun Shanbhag

The linga is placed in a small square garbha gudi with doors at each face. Devotees can walk around the linga on a raised walkway. Priests at each doors accept offerings of flowers and bael leaves, place it briefly on the linga and bring back the prasad. Around the garbha gudi, Nepali women in bright red sarees light oil lamps and chant prayers. It was a beautiful scene – one I wish I had more time to savor.

The temple complex is a huge pavilion with 20-30 mini shrines around the periphery of the Shiva linga. Notable are the fierce-looking, bronze Kaala-Bhairav and a small temple with 125 lingas arranged in a maze. The lingas are placed knee high and as you walk the maze, you can touch all the lingas. Nice! There is a public cremation ghat right beside the temple, which I was not prepared to visit.

These kids were tending shoes and chappals outside the temple. They should have been in school instead! Rather than place money in the temple hundi, I gave money to these boys. They were puzzled, but accepted it. I intentionally over-paid the women selling flowers. They quoted in Nepali rupees, while I paid in India rupees (=1.6 Nepali Rs).
Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal, Arun Shanbhag

Overall a beautiful temple. Wish I had more time to experience this sacred place fully – would prolly require a whole day. Also wished they allowed photography inside the temple complex, so I could share the ambience with you all.


Kailash Manasarovar Travelogue continues: Monks at the Pashupatinath Temple
To start at beginning of Travelogue: Rendevous with Sagarmatha (Everest)

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  1. […] Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu […]

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  4. […] up on posting pics from my Kailash Manasarovar trip) Here is the main post on the Pashupatinath Temple in kathmandu, Nepal. In a little pavilion outside the […]

  5. […] Here, donors arranged free meals for monks and the needy. You can see this on my blog here. And here is my main post on the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, […]

  6. […] spent a day in Kathmandu flying along the Everest Mountain Range, taking darshan at Pashupatinath, and the Baudhanath Stupa, and visiting the local markets. We left early the following morning for […]

  7. […] From the cockpit: As we reached Sagarmatha, the pilot banked sharply left and started the return trip. During this maneuver, we were certainly closer than the predicted 5 nautical miles. The closest I’d get to the tallest peak in the world! Next on the Kailash Manasarovar Travelogue: Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu […]

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