Pashupatinath Temple – Shiva’s Home in Kathmandu Valley

The Pashupatinath temple in the east of Kathmandu has been a religious site for both Hindus and Buddhists for maybe over 2000 years. Daily thousends of pilgrims visit Pashupatinath, with a top day on Maha Shivaratri when hunderds of thousends of pilgrims come to pay their tribute to Shiva. The Pashupatinath temple complex is one of the Unesco world heritage sites of the Kathmandu Valley.

History of Pashupatinath :

Pashupati means “Lord of the animals” and it one form of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva has 1008 name and forms and as Pashupati he watches over the souls of men and is worshipped as the patron deity of Nepal. Though there is no proof when the temple originated the oldest evidence is data 477 A.D but the temple may have stood here nearly 1000 years before that.

One of the legend about Lord Shiva is that once Shiva took the form of an antelope being weary of throngs of worshipping demigods and wandered in the Mrigasthali Forest on the Bagmati river’s east bank. The Gods were looking for him and finally found him as an antelope and they grabbed him by horn and forced him to come back to his divine form. The broken horn was worshipped as a linga, and it was buried and lost. Centuries later an astonished farmer found him cows showering the milk on the earth. Digging deep in the site, the farmer is believed to uncover the divine linga of Pashupati.

Lord Pashupati is invoked on official treaties, pledges, political speeches and appears on coins and royal coat of arms. Pashupatinath is one of the great holy Shiva places of the Indian Subcontinent, and no pilgrimage is complete without a visit to it.

Where is Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu ?
Pashupatinath temple is in the banks of Bagmati river on the eastern side of Kathmandu. The place where Pashupatinath is located is called Gaurighat, Kathmandu. People often say the location as Gaushala, Jaya bageswori etc. So, when you reach near the intersection of Gaushala or Jaya Bageswori or Mitrapark then you will see the board where it is written “The Way to Pashupati”. The another easier way to figure out is “Bagmati river is flowing beside Pashupatinath“.

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January 18, 2012

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