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    Pashupatinath Temple - And a Brief History

    Balaram Thapa
    Balaram ThapaUpdated: Oct 28th 2023  |  Heritage Sites

    Pashupatinath is a well-known Hindu temple that can be found on the western bank of the holy river Bagmati. It is approximately 5 kilometers to the east of Kathmandu's main city. The primary reason for traveling to this world heritage site is to learn about the history and cultural traditions practiced by the local Hindu population. Many Hindus think this temple is one of the most important places to visit on a pilgrimage.

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    A Brief History of the Temple of Pashupatinath

    This temple is said to have been constructed by Supuspadev, a Licchhavi king who ruled the Kathmandu Valley between the years 464 and 505 AD, according to the Gopal Vamshavali book, which is the oldest chronicle book ever written. According to another historical chronicle, the Pashupatinath temple was constructed as a simple devalaya (temple) in the shape of a linga. This was before Supuspadev built a temple with five-storied. Over the course of many years, the temple has undergone extensive renovation. According to legend, Bhaskar Verma, a Licchavi ruler who ruled during the 6th century, sprinkled the temple with gold, which is when the gold gilt ceiling was first constructed. However, the temple in its present state dates back to the 16th century, during the reign of Shivasimha Malla, who ruled from 1578 until 1620 AD. Nonetheless, it underwent additional remodeling in the years 1674 and 1697, respectively.

    The Truth About Pashupatinath

    In point of fact, the most notable characteristics of the temple are the fact that it has four doors on each side, all of which are gilded in silver, and that the roofs of the struts are gilded in gold. All of the available spaces have either been painted or carved with a variety of decorative items. On the struts are also depictions of a variety of gods and goddesses, striking a variety of poses. The current appearance of a temple dates back to the 19th or 20th century AD, during a pivotal period in Nepalese history when the Rana governed over the Kathmandu valley from 1846 AD to 1950 AD. The temple in its present form features silver-glided doors. Rana were successful in elevating themselves to the position of being the most influential prime minister in the nation. On the other hand, King Mahendra was responsible for constructing the entrance gate that features a painting of Lord Shiva. As one of Nepal's most notable monarchs, Mahendra played an important role in advancing the country's economy and foreign policy.

    Daily pujas, festivals, and special pujas are all performed at the main temple of Pashupatinath, which is known as the Pashupatinath Temple. There are 3,200 statues, each depicting a different god or goddess. There are a number of other smaller temples devoted to a variety of deities situated in and around the premises of the main temple. Examples include the temples of Kritimukha Bhairav (7th century), Vasuki, Unmatta Bhairav, the temple of Lord Brahma (9th century), Kotilingeswor Mahadev, the Radha Krishna temple, and the Parthiveswor (15th to 17th century AD) and Muktimandap.

    According to Hindu scripture, Pashupatinath is considered one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for people who follow the Hindu religion. The name "Pashupatinath" translates to "lord of all the animals of the natural world" in its original Sanskrit. (Supposed to be able to control everything alive in the universe.)

    Hindu pilgrims travel from all over the world to visit this holy site throughout the year. Hundreds of thousands of devotees from Nepal and India travel to attend special events such as the Maha Shivaratri festival, which happens on the 14th day of the waning moon in late February or early March. People all over the world and all over the country know how important the site is.

    The Pashupatinath area was included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979 AD due to its unparalleled collection of temples, as well as its rich history, legacy, and religious significance. The primary temple is designed as a pagoda and stands tall in the middle of a substantial courtyard.

    Pashupatinath Shiva Linga

    The worship of Shiva, whose linga is associated, is one of the many sects that make up the Hindu religion. There are two distinct kinds of linga: one is simple, and the other is a five-headed Shiva Lingam with heads on all four sides and one on the top. Yoni is represented by the lower portion (vagina), whereas the linga represents the upper portion (penis). It combines the process of creation and the birth of creatures with significance.

    As per the legend, the linga is composed of three parts: the lower part of the lingam indicates that there is Brahma, a god of creation; the middle part of the lingam has Vishnu, a god of protection; and the upper part of the lingam has Rudra, a god of medicine or an incarnation of Lord Shiva, a god of destruction.

    In the holiest part of the Pashupatinath temple, known as the main sanctum, there is a priest stationed on each side of the linga. The priest of this temple ought to have at least seven vegetarian generations in their family tree. There are 108 individuals known as Bhandaris, each of whom serves as an assistant to Bhatta (the temple's primary priest, who was from south India).

    The Virateshwor Shiva Linga is believed to have been constructed between the 7th and 8th centuries and is one of the largest Shiva lingas in Nepal. You can find it at the Rajeshwori Ghat (one of the most well-known of the six Ghats in the Pashupatinath region).

    More than four hundred Shiva lingas, both small and large, can be found in and around the Pasupathi area. The Vedas and the Puranas (Hindu scriptures) provide a full overview of the four-faced Lingam that is housed within the sanctum of the temple. Tatpurusha - East, Sadyojata -West, Vamadeva - North, Aghora - South, and Ishana (Up).

    Another way to look at the four faces is as symbols of the four Vedas and the four dhaams, which are the four most important Hindu pilgrimage sites (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Rameswaram).

    Moreover, inscriptions dating back to the Licchavi era 32, the Malla period 50, and the Shah period 55 have all been found in the vicinity of Pashupatinath. The 103 Inscription has not yet been made available to the public. There have been 3,200 statues of various gods and goddesses so far. In addition, the region surrounding the Pashupatinath temple has 37 temples and statues that date back to the Malla period, as well as 27 temples and statues that date back to the Licchavi period.

    Finally, it is said that all of the curses will be removed from anyone who comes to the Pashupatinath area and visits, even if that person has committed grave sins throughout the course of their life.

    Hindu Funeral Rites Performed at Pashupatinath.

    Hindus conduct funeral rites in order to facilitate the deceased person's salvation and journey through the afterlife. Rituals are typically carried out on the banks of rivers at various points throughout the world. The deceased individual's body is transported to the edge of the river, where it is placed on a funeral pyre and set ablaze. The sons of the deceased person will shave their heads before or after lighting the funeral pyre.

    The sons will then sit in mourning for thirteen days, during which time they will wear nothing but white robes, remain isolated, and consume only one meal of rice per day, frequently supplemented with ghee (butter), and fruits. During this time period, they are not permitted to touch anyone else. Chanting from the holy book known as the Garuda Puran is done to comfort those in mourning. Religious rites are carried out at this time to respect the spirit of the person who has passed away.

    On the thirteenth day, an elaborate ceremony is held in honor of the heavenly abode of the deceased soul. The deceased person's belongings are brought before the priest in the expectation that the deceased soul will acknowledge their value and accept them. After that, on the same day of each month throughout the following year, a ritual that is very similar but performed on a smaller scale is carried out. All throughout the year, those who are in mourning wear white clothing. On the other hand, many people in today's world don't wear white clothes after 13 days because it's inconvenient for them.

    After a year has passed, the mourners take part in a religious ceremony called "Sraddha," and at the conclusion of the ceremony, they throw away the white clothing. Shraddha has performed annually in memory of those who have passed away.

    How can I get to the Pashupatinath?

    If you are in Thamel in Kathmandu, the best way to reach Pashupatinath temple is to take a prepaid cab. If you're interested in finding additional ways to get to Pashupatinath Temple, you can do so by taking a local bus, van, or bus from Ratnapark. The Pashupatinath is about 5 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu's downtown central.

    In Conclusion

    It is a well-known Hindu temple on the western bank of the holy river Bagmati and is one of the main reasons for visiting Nepal. If you are visiting Nepal and looking to learn more about this temple, I hope this blog post is helpful. I wish you all the best on your travels. Please contact us anytime if you have any further questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

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