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June 14, 2019

Pashupatinath: World Hindu Pilgrimage Site

Pashupatinath: Lord of all Animals and Humans
Pashupatinath: Lord of all Animals and Humans

The local term “Pashupatinath” refers to the lord of all animals and human beings on earth or Shiva. The Pashupatinath temple, situated on the bank of sacred Bagmati river is one of the biggest and significant religious pilgrimage sites for Hindus in Asia.

The temple dedicated to lord Shiva serves as the seat of national deity and is around 5 kilometers north east of Kathmandu. It has existed ever since the beginning of the millennium. Every year, hundreds and thousands of devotees and tourists visit this heritage site.

It was constructed during the 5th century by one of the Kirant rulers. Lord Shiva is also called “Kirateswor” or the lord of Kiranties. There is a temple within the vicinity of Pashupatinath where a priest usually takes care of daily offerings for the deity.

The previous regal Shah lineage also maintained the legacy of worshiping the lord Shiva as their local deity. Even current rulers have made efforts to retain the identity of this deity and temple intact and treated it with same reverence as earlier rulers.

The temple is built with a Pagoda style and a gilded roof. The area extends to 264 hectares of land and over 518 Hindu temples including monuments are found in the premises of this pristine temple.

The temple also has Vasukinath temple, Suryanaryan temple, Buda Nilkantha Shrine, Hanuman Shrine, Unmatta Bhairav temple, Kirti much Bhairav shrine and additional 184 Shivaling Shrines.

The dead bodies are cremated on a raised platform on the bank of Bagmati and this spot is known as “Aryaghat” which means cremation ground for the people of Aryan.

The temple is one the world heritages recognized by UNESCO in the World Heritage sites list in 1979. Some people believe that if you die here, you are reincarnated as human in the next life irrespective of your evil deeds in this lifetime.

Just be careful about unexpected misconduct of hungry monkeys strolling here and there in search of foods. The hungry monkeys might grab away your edibles from your hands or children’s hands.

You will come across few of the friendly ascetics (sadhus) with white ashes anointed on their forehead which might give you a weird look.

But no need to be scary. They will not harm you. Also, you should not be perturbed by the naked appearance of few of these ascetics during the time of national festival “Mahashivaratri” at Pashupatinath temple. Just be part of such festivities and enjoy the moments from a distance.

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