Everything About Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Pashupatinath temple is one of the very pious religious sites of the continent for Hindus. Built in 5th century, this temple is said to be the largest temple complex of the country. The temple is located on the sides of River Bagmati, which is considered as a holy water body by Hindus. Due to local traditions, only Hindus are allowed inside the inner sanctum, which contains the Shiva lingam. The entire temple holds hundreds of Shiv Lingams around the complex.
It is one of the eight heritage sites of the valley and is an important destination for pilgrims. It is not one simple shrine. This complex holds more than 500 smaller shrines of various Hindu deities. You can find rickshaws and electric scooter rides from southwestern gate of the temple to scale the complex. Elder pilgrims can avail this service free of cost. Most of the Hindu regions perform their last rituals and cremations near this temple. Thus, spotting a funeral or dead body is not uncommon here.
What to See in Pashupatinath Temple?
Here are Top 10 temple to see Near Pashupatinath Temple
1. Pashupatinath Temple
This is a pagoda styled temple, which is built with wooden structures, roofs made of cooper and doors covered with silver sheets.
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The main temple holds a stone idol, which has four faces. Each face of the deity represents each element (air, water, fire and earth). This statue is bathed with milk and water from the river, every day and it is an important ritual to be seen by pilgrims.
3. Guheshwori Temple
This temple is located very closer to Pashupatinath temple. This temple is dedicated to Sati Devi, consort of Lord Shiva. Also called as Guhyeshwari temple, this 17th century temple is located close to the forest region. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter this premise.
4. Gorakhnath Temple
This towering temple of 11th century is a Shiva temple. It is famous for forest landscape, passing deer and others.
5. Largest Nandi Statue
Nandi, the bull is said to the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Right outside the inner sanctum, you can find the largest statue of Nandi. The statue is made of brass.
6. Western Cremation Ghats
This ghat of River Bagmati is considered as the most sacred part of the river. Thus, Brahmins conduct their cremations in this region. On the northern end of this ghat, you can find many caves, which were used in the medieval times for meditation. If you walk along the bank, you will find 7th century Buddha statue and Raj Rajeshwari temple.
7. Eastern Ghats
This ghat is filled with holy men performing rituals. You can find people fishing here. There are two footbridges, which help you cross the river.
On the hilltop, you can find a viewpoint, which helps you get a panoramic view of the temple, including the golden trident of the temple. This is also the right place to watch cremation ceremonies near the ghats.
9. Bachhareshwari Temple
This 6th century temple is famous for its erotic paintings, skeleton decoration and tantric figures.
10. Religious Market
This market is found around the temple. This is the best place to buy religious items, ritual items and small souvenirs. For more details about what to buy in Nepal, click the link.
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What to Experience in Pashupatinath Temple?
Pashupatinath temple is one of the very few destinations to spot final rituals of Hindus. Some people trek up the hills around the temple to watch funerals and cremations. Apart from this unique experience, here are the top rituals and religious activities to enjoy in this temple.
- Visit early in the morning at 4 am to watch the opening ritual, during which the western gate of the temple is opened for pilgrims and tourists.
- Visit after 8:30 am to spot the idol decorated with jewels
- Visit at 10 am to enjoy Farmayishi puja, in which devotees can request puja to be done under their name to the idol.
- Visit the shores of River Bagmati after 6 pm to watch the Bagmati Ganga aarti, similar to the Varanasi aarti. Special rituals take place during Mondays and Saturdays. The most iconic attraction is the Tandava Bhajan, which takes place during the aarti.
You can find many holy men strolling around the temple with long dreadlocked hair, unshaven beards and weird looks. Getting blessings from these sadhus are considered to be very auspicious. Sometimes, it might cost you a small tip. Some of these sadhus provide spiritual amulets or perform exorcism for alms.
Remember to keep your things as safe as possible as, you can find numerous kleptomaniac monkeys inside the complex.
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Entry Fee And Timings
Indian Hindus and Buddhists are free to enter the temple complex. Those who practice Hinduism and does not belong Nepal or India are not allowed to enter the inner sanctum. Sikhs and Jains are allowed to enter the complex. Others can watch the temple structure from the other side of Bagmati River.
Entry fee – Nepali Rupee 1000 per head ($10) for foreigners. Indians and Nepalis are free to enter.
Timing – Open from 4 am to 7 pm (inner Pashupatinath temple)
Open from 5 am to 12 pm (Lingam of Pashupatinath temple)
From 9:30 am to 1:30 pm (western door will be opened)
Abhisheka tickets – Nepali Rupee 1100 per puja
Recommended Tour – 14 Days Itinerary of Buddhist Tour with Nepal & India
Top Tips To Visit Pashupatinath Temple
• The best time to visit is during Maha Shivaratri. More than a million devotees visit during this festival. However, it is the most crowded time of the year.
• If you are not allowed to a certain area inside the sanctum, please follow the rules. Just because the reason is as petty as religion or caste, it does not mean that you can overlook it.
• You will find many sadhus at the entrance of the temple who provide fortune telling sessions or blessings. It always comes with a fee.
• All the sadhus in the temple are open for taking pictures with you or posing for a picture. Feel free to ask and do not sneak up taking pictures without them knowing.
• If you are watching a funeral or final ritual, have the decency not to take pictures. Remember that it might be a unique experience for you but it is their last good bye to their special person. Act accordingly.
• Many sadhus and priests sell medicines, which they claim to be provided by Lord himself. You should know better about whether or not to use an unknown concoction.
• You would be walking through hundreds of shrines inside the complex. The entire place is made of stone, which tend to absorb a lot of heat. Thus, carry enough water with you.
Are you looking for covering Kathmandu during your vacation? Here are the top suggested tour packages.
Are you confused about whether or not to visit Nepal for vacation? Read Top reason to visit Nepal and to get started.
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