Discover the Spiritual Essence: Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal

The Hindu religion and its mythologies are a fascinating collection of mystical tales about how the holy trinity, namely, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva created the Earth along with humankind. The goddesses were then created to add natural touches to the environment and eventually win wars against the forces of evil.

The sacred stories are enchanting to learn but what if there were parts of the Earth where there is proof that the gods up above did reside here at some point and left parts of themselves behind?

The Nepal Pashupatinath temple is a true testament to that perception. Although 12 parts of Lord Shiva as well as several parts of the body of Maa Parvati, Maa Lakshmi, and other gods and goddesses are reputed to have fallen in India, it is said a portion of Lord Shiva's head fell in Kathmandu, thus giving rise to the Pashupatinath temple in Nepal.

Pashupatinath temple 

Nepal has always been considered the sister country of India with its magnificent view of the Himalayas and a religious structure and culture that astounds the locals as well as the tourists with its serenity. The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, has been a tourist hub ever since the country was founded. It is where spirituality and extravagance come together to create harmonious living between mankind and the divine source. 

While Kathmandu has many offerings of industrialisation and exquisite resorts, one of the main attractions that draw people to the capital city of Nepal is the Pashupatinath Temple. Dedicated to the creator and destroyer of the holy trinity, this expansive shrine is a testament to the Hindu mythologies and legendary accomplishments of Lord Shiva to establish the human race as a gift that remains mysterious behind the struggles between good and evil. 

The Pashupatinath mandir in Nepal is steeped in historic and spiritual significance with tales that date back thousands of years. As we all know, the Himalayas are credited to the presiding of Lord Shiva in his meditative form. Therefore, it is not a surprise that the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, which overlooks the Himalayas and is in close proximity to the residence of the divine lord was actually built to commemorate a part of his true self. 

Pashupatinath Temple History

Hindu mythology tells the story of how Lord Shiva along with his better half, the enamoured Goddess Parvati once descended by the Bagmati River in the guise of beautiful antelopes in the dense forests located on the eastern side. They trudged along the banks of the river together and explored the region for its scintillating beauty, astounded by what nature had created after their initial participation in the project of creating the earth. 

After their exploration, Goddess Parvati decided to return to their home in order to help humankind continue to thrive and survive with her bountiful blessings while Lord Shiva decided to prolong his stay surrounded by nature in his current form as a relative of the mighty stag. When the other divine sources heard of his decision to not return home, they chose to come down to earth and pester him to reconsider. 

When he refused to abide by their requests, the gods pulled him by one of the prongs on his head, which eventually broke off by the sheer force of divine power. Lord Shiva eventually agreed to return to his post but the part of his prong that remained on earth became the first true essence of a Shivling. However, unknown to the gods and man, with time, the antler got buried underground and was forgotten. 

Several years later, a rancher who was grazing his cows found one of them to be milking a spot on the ground. Upon digging, he found the missing Shivling and decided to build a small temple with the help of King Manadeva. 

The legends around the temple have since diversified to claim that the Lichchavi ruler, Supushpadeva, built the temple while others claim that he erected the structure around an omnipresent Linga in the region. Regardless of the story that we choose to believe of how the temple was constructed, the fact is, it houses a part of Lord Shiva himself. 

About the Pashupatinath Temple 

Lord Shiva is the most sacred of all the gods in Hindu mythology celebrated in Nepal. The Pashupatinath Temple invites many tourists and pilgrims from all around the world to worship in the presence of Lord Shiva's divinity. The architecture of the temple itself is astounding compared to many sacred buildings that were erected to commemorate the fierce god of Hindu mythology. 

As per the legends, the temple was built to house an authentic Linga from the body of Lord Shiva as he strolled through the forests by the banks of river Bagmati. The prong of his antelope body marks his presence in the area and it's celebrated to this day. It is a rare occurrence to find a part of a god's body on Earth. Even if you are not a spiritual person, the trip to witness this preserved piece from Lord Shiva is an incredible blessing in disguise. 

The Pashupatinath Temple is not just a single structure like Kedarnath or Somnath, which are part of the 12 Lingas that constitute the body of Lord Shiva in India. The Pashupatinath mandir in Nepal is where the head of Lord Shiva is believed to preside, and rightfully so given that the Linga was part of his prong from the antelope head.

The temple itself is actually a cluster of spiritual congregations with shrines devoted to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati in her many forms, and Shiva's trusted companion Nandi. The main Shiva temple where the antelope Linga is preserved is built in the traditional style of Nepal's structure of pagodas with a lacquered golden roof, silver linings on the side of the building, and wooden carvings all around. 

There are also several ashrams constructed within the range of the Pashupatinath Temple and its surrounding shrines. These ashrams are home to many pilgrims, preachers, and others waving to pay homage to Lord Shiva. Aside from the shrines, temples and ashrams, there are also inscribed rocks within the complex that constitutes the Pashupatinath Temple. It is a one-stop spiritual destination for enlightenment and to witness the true presence of god. 

Location of Pashupatinath Temple 

The Pashupatinath Temple is located in the capital city of Kathmandu in the country of Nepal. Surrounded by the Himalayan range that is famed for being the abode of Lord Shiva, the entire country is dedicated to the worship and spiritual practices of commemorating the fearsome creator and destroyer of the universe as per Hindu scriptures. 

The problematic river flows through the capital city of Kathmandu with the lush, dense forest land on the southern extent. This wilderness is where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are reputed to have spent time in the guises of antelopes several centuries ago before the Linga from the prong of Lord Shiva was broken off and left behind on earth. 

The Nepal Pashupatinath Temple now stands tall on the site where the Linga was discovered, albeit with a controversial story behind its recovery. Regardless, the Linga is the primary feature around which the temple was built. There is some debate about whether the temple was built by King Manadeva or King Supushpadeva. King Shivadeva is certainly credited for reconstructing the shrine to enhance its holy divinity and King Ananta Malla is reputed to have had the roof constructed for the shrine. 

The Pashupatinath Temple complex resides by the Bagmati River housing several shrines and temples dedicated to the worship of Hindu gods and goddesses. The main temple of Lord Shiva is located in the centre with the Linga protected by his comrade Nandi. The temple complex invites pilgrimage as well as casual spiritual tours to the city of Kathmandu from people who simply wish to witness the Linga of Lord Shiva and bask in its divine presence. 

Significance of Pashupatinath Temple 

There is a lot of historical and spiritual significance that surrounds the Pashupatinath Temple in the capital city of Nepal. The mythological story behind how the Linga of Lord Shiva came to be dropped by the Bagmati River holds a significant appeal to worshippers of Mahadev. 

In the Hindu religion, it is strongly believed that every soul that leaves the earth is reincarnated in another body. Pilgrims, especially those who are advanced in age or suffering from chronic diseases visit the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu every year to pray for prosperity in reincarnation. The homage offered to Lord Shiva in this exquisite temple complex surrounded by his trusted divine powers is known to not only bless his devotees with healing and forgiveness in this life but many people claim to have felt his presence in their new lives. 

Young couples as well as people striving in their career or personal lives find serenity and feel the forces of divinity healing their negative energies. Not only is the Pashupatinath Temple popular among those who are suffering but also those who wish to improve their lifestyle in general. 

The holistic living facilities in the ashrams add to the temple tours of the Pashupatinath Temple complex and enrich the lives of those who make the journey. 

Operating hours to visit Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu 

The Pashupatinath Temple complex is open 24/7 since it is not just a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva but a congregation of various spiritual structures including ashrams where pilgrims can reside. The outer sanctum of the temple complex is available for exploration throughout the day and night. You can even visit the banks of the Bagmati River and the forest land that surrounds its western side or gauge the Himalayan range for its divine beauty anytime. 

Morning: 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Afternoon: 5:00 PM t0 7:00 PM
On Festivals Operational: 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM 

How to visit Pashupatinath Temple 

The fortuitous location of the Pashupatinath Temple in the capital city of Kathmandu in Nepal makes it incredibly easy for tourists to plan a trip to the temple complex. Here are some ways to reach the Pashupatinath Temple from India: 

  • By air : The easiest and fastest way to visit Nepal in order to visit the Pashupatinath Temple is to take a flight from any major Indian city such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, and others. There are several major airlines that cater flights from India to Nepal, most of which are via Darjeeling or Siliguri. From Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri, you can catch direct flights to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal. You can also choose to take a flight from the major cities to Darjeeling and travel via road to reach Nepal.
  • By railway - Another incredible way to travel for your visit to the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu is to travel by train. There are trains available from major cities around India headed to Kashmir, Darjeeling, Shimla, and other locations within the borders of India that lie around the Himalayan range. From these cities, there are direct trains available to Kathmandu on a regular basis.
  • By road: Last but not least, the Bodhnath Stupa in Kathmandu connects the main city in Nepal to major cities in India. It is particularly easy to take a road trip from Shimla, Darjeeling, Kashmir, Nainital, and other towns and cities around the Himalayan range. You can opt for outstation taxis as well as regular buses as per your convenience to reach Kathmandu from India. 

Upon reaching Kathmandu, you can take a cab or opt for an autorickshaw to take you to the main entrance of the Pashupatinath Temple complex located on the western side. There are three other entrances to the temple complex which are closed throughout the year. However, these gates are also open during festival season to welcome the locals as well as tourists of Nepal to partake in the festivities to celebrate Lord Shiva and the many Hindu gods.

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