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Pashupatinath temple (पशुपतिनाथ मन्दिर) is the biggest Hindu temple of Lord Shiva in the world located on the banks of the Bagmati rivermarker in the eastern part of Kathmandumarker, the capital of Nepalmarker. The temple served as the seat of national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, until Nepal was secularized. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list .

Believers in Pashupatinath (mainly Hindus) are allowed to enter the temple premises. Non-Hindu visitors are allowed to have a look at the temple from the other bank of Bagmati river.

It is regarded as the most sacred among the temples of Lord Shiva (Pashupati)


Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It is not known for certain when Pashupatinath Temple was founded. But according to Nepal Mahatmaya and Himvatkhanda, one day Lord Shiva grew tired of his palace atop Mt. Kailash and so went in search of a place where he could escape to. He discovered Kathmandu Valley and, without telling anyone, he ran away from his palace and came to live in the Valley. He gained great fame there as Pashupati, Lord of the Animals, before the other gods discovered his hiding place and came to fetch him. He disguised himself as a majestic deer and would not help the other gods when they asked for his help. When Shiva did not yield to their pleas, they planned to use force. God Vishnu grabbed him by his horns and they shattered into pieces. Vishnu established a temple and used the broken horns to form a linga on the bank of the Bagmati River. As time went by, the temple was buried and forgotten. Then a cow was known to have secretly sprinkled her milk over the mound. Apparently, when the cow herders dug around the spot, they found the lost lingas and again built a temple in reverence.


The temple was first established in the 5th century. The priests who perform the services at this temple have been Brahmins from South India since the time of Malla king Yaksha Malla . This tradition is supposed to have started by the request of Adi Shankaracharya who sought to unify the different states of Bharatam (Unified India) by encouraging cultural exchange. This procedure is also followed in other temples around India which were sanctified by Adi Shankaracharya.Malla kings honoured the request of Adi shankarachaya as latter being one of the greatest ever Hindu acharyas.

Another interpretation is that Indian priests are stationed at Pashupatinath because when the King passes away, the entire Nepali people are supposed to stop religious services and enter a year long period of mourning and as Pashupatinath needs to be eternally worshiped, Indians were brought in to make sure that Pashupatinath is worshiped even at the time of official mourning.

The unique feature of this temple is that only 4 priests can touch the idol. The priests are always from south India. This tradition is supposed to have started by Sage Shankaracharya in 6th century, ostensibly to stop human sacrifice which was prevalent in that temple. However,this tradition was recently challenged after the historic revolution in Nepal which demolished the monarchy and established democracy where Nepalese priests supported by the anti- Indian Maoists government.There was widespread protests by most Nepalese as they saw this as an intereference in their religion.The Maoists lost power after a few months of this.

Temple architecture

The temple is of pagoda style of architecture.All the features of pagoda style is founded here like cubic constructions,beautifully carved wooden rafters on which they rest(tundal). The two level roofs are of copper with gold covering. It has four main doors, all covered with silver sheets.This temple has got gold pinnacle,(Gajur),which is a symbol of religious thought. The western door has a statue of large bull or Nandi, again covered in gold. The deity is of black stone, about 6 feet in height and the same in circumference.

Vasukinath lies to the east of Pashupatinath.



Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva is the most important festival celebrated in this temple. Along the shores of the Bagmati river near the temple lies "Aara Ghat", the most widely used place of cremation in Nepal, especially in and around Kathmandu Valley.On the day of Shivaratri thousands of devotes come to this temple,

Controversy of 2009

The priests are called Bhattas and the Chief Priest is known as Mool Bhatt or Raval. The chief priests of temple have been Brahmins from South India since Malla era. This, along with the alleged corruption within temple had been an issue among Nepalese people.

In January 2009, after the forced resignation by the chief priest of Pashupatinath temple, the Maoist-led government of Nepal "hand picked" Nepalese priest to the temple, thus bypassing the temple's long-standing requirements. This appointment was contested by the Bhandaris of the temple, stating that they were not against the appointment of Nepalese priests but against the appointment without proper procedure. After the appointment was challenged in the court of laws, the appointment was overruled by Supreme Court of Nepal . However, the government did not heed the ruling and continued with its decision. This led to a public outrage and protests over lack of transparency. The paramilitary group of CPN (Maoist), called YCL, attacked the protesters leading to over a dozen injuries . Lawmakers and party activists of the opposition parties joined protests and stated that their support were with the Bhandaris and other protesters. Despite these events, the government still continued with its decision.

However, after dissatisfaction was expressed by Indian politician Mulayam Singh Yadav, BJP and after other Indian celebrities like Govinda, Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Ambani could not visit the temple due to the protests, the government promptly reverted its decision and reinstated Indian priests .


Image:Pashupatinath.jpg|Pashupatinath TempleImage:Pilgrim in Pashupatinath.jpg|Pilgrim in PashupatinathImage:Pashupatinath dye seller.jpg|Dye seller outside PashupatinathImage:Shiva temple in Pashupatinath.jpg|Shiva temple in PashupatinathImage:Pashupatinath Entrance Bull.JPG|Entrance to main temple, forbidden for Non-hindu's. Shiva's Nandi bull can be seen from the rearImage:Pashupatinath_Cremation.jpg|Cremations on Bagmati riverbankImage:Pashupatinath_Sadhu.jpg|Sadhu at PashupatinathImage:Bagmati-river.jpg|A holyman crosses Bagmati river with a plank of wood


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