PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE

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Pashupatinath temple is the world famous and the oldest temple of Hindu pilgrimage. It lies in the Kathmandu city on the bank of the Bagmati River. This temple was enlisted in the World Heritage Site in 1979 A.D, an included as one of the seven monuments groups in UNESCO’s designation of Kathmandu valley. This temple spread across 246 hectors of land including 518 temples and monuments. Pashupatinath is more than just a religious destination. It is a combination of religious, art and culture which spread peace and devotion. This temple was created in the 5th century by Licchavi King Prachanda Dev. This temple is an important destination for art and culture. It displays a variety of temple design some of which are Dome style, Pagoda style, Shikhara style e and so on. Also there are varieties of statues and sculptures around the complex. There are statues made out of stone, metal and wood. The doors and the pillars around the temple are also carved in beautiful shapes of God and Goddess. There are many famous temples inside this area including the Bhuwaneshwor, the Dakshinamurti, Tamreshwor, Panchdewal, Bishwarupa and others. All this temples have its own set of rituals to be performed and every temple has specific values and customs. The richly ornamented Pagoda houses the sacred Linga or holy symbol of Lord Shiva. There are many legends describing as to how the temple of Lord AalokPashupatinat came to existence here. There is also a small forest on the other side of the Bagmati River.

The main temple is built in the Nepalese Pagoda style of architectures. The features of Pagoda style are found here like cubic constructions, beautifully carved wooden rafters on which they rest. There are two level roofs made of copper with gold covering. There are four main doors in the temple which is covered with silver sheet and has a gold pinnacle. The main idol is a stone Mukhalinga with a silver yoni base bound with the silver serpent. There are four (4) entrances in cardinal directions. The western entrance is the main entrance to the temple and the remaining three entrances open only in festivals. There is a security regarding who are allowed to enter into the inner courtyard. Hindu of South Asian and Buddhist of Nepal and Tibetan are only allowed to enter into the temple courtyard and Hindus from western descent are not allowed into the temple. They must go from non-Hindu visitors. Sikhs and Jains religious people, if they are of Indian ancestry they may enter the temple complex. But other religious people can look at the temple from the adjacent side of the river. The inner temple courtyard remains open from 4 AM to 7 PM for the devotee but the inner Pashupatinath temple where the Lingam of Lord Pashupatinath is established remain open from 5 AM to 12 PM for morning and from 5 PM to 7 PM for evening rituals. The temple closing times changes according to the season. In summer it closes at 8 PM and in winter the temple get closed at 6:30 PM. The unique feature of this temple is that only four priests can touch the idol. Except them other people are not allowed to touch the idol.

            There are many festivals which are celebrated in this temple. But among them Maha Shiva RatriBalaChaturthi and Teej festival is the most important celebrated in this temple and thousands of people from different place of Nepal and India visit here for this festival. Teej is the most celebrated festival of Hindu woman in Pashupatinath temple. It is celebrated for happiness and long life of their husband. On this day woman do fasting to make strong bonding between the husband and wife. Not only this, unmarried girls too take fasting and pray the Lord Shiva to get a good husband in their future like Lord Shiva. On this day Pashupatinath temple get crowded by thousands of people. Pashupatinath is not only a holy place for Hindu religious to worship but also a cremation (Aryaghat) the dead body. This cremation lies on the bank of Bagmati River.  The dead’s naked feet are washed in the odorous’ green waters of the Bagmati.  As maximum Hindu people from Kathmandu valley, when their relatives died they bring the dead body to the Pashupatinath to burn the dead body. It is said as ‘‘the body is nothing. Nothing inside. So we come here, and we burn it. Burn it fast.’’ There are many places for the family member to stay, of the dead body. They can stay over there until they finish the final ritual of the dead one.  Not only this, we can see old age home (Briddhashram) for the old people who were left by the family and those who don’t have family. They live together, help each other as a family member. This old age home is running by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare Council, since 1938 B.S.

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