Temple, with its astonishing architectural beauty, stands as a symbol of
faith, religion, culture and tradition. Regarded as the most sacred temple
of Hindu Lord Shiva in the world, Pashupatinath Temple's existence dates
back to 400 A.D. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or
phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world
come to pay homage to this temple, that is also known as 'The Temple of
What to See
||5 km north-east of Kathmandu
||UNESCO listed World Cultural Heritage Site
||Prior to 400 A.D
||» Only four priests, appointed by the King, can touch the idol
of Lord Shiva.
» The priests are always from south India.
» It is believed that this tradition have been started by Sage
Shankaracharaya in 6th century.
» Gold-painted images of guardian deities
» Chaturmukha (four-faced statue)
» Chadeshvar, an inscribed Licchavi linga from the 7th century
» Brahma Temple
» Dharmashila, a stone where sacred oaths are taken
» Arya Ghat
» Gauri Ghat (holy bath)
» Pandra Shivalaya (15 shrines)
» Gorakhnath and Vishwarup Temples
» Guhyeshwari (Guhjeshwari) Temple
» Kirateshwar Mahadeva Mandir and Surya Ghat
» The two level roofs of the temple are embellished with gold and the
four main doors are adorned with silver.
» The temple is famous for its awe-inspiring and astounding pagoda
» The western door has a statue of a large Bull, Nandi, is ornamented
in gold. This black stone idol, about 6 ft in height and circumference, adds
to the beauty and charisma of the temple.
» The present architectural nature of Pashupatinath temple came into
existence as a result of renovation by Queen Gangadevi during the reign of
Shivasimha Malla (1578-1620 AD).
There are many legends describing as to how the temple of Lord
Pashupatinath came to existence here. Some of them are narrated below:-
The Cow Legend
Legend says that Lord Shiva once took the form of an antelope and sported
unkown in the forest on Bagmati river's east bank. The gods later caught up
with him, and grabbing him by the horn, forced him to resume his divine
form. The broken horn was worshipped as a linga but overtime it was buried
and lost. Centuries later an astonished herdsmen found one of his cows
showering the earth with milk. Digging deep at the site, he discovered the
divine linga of Pashupatinath.
The Linchchhavi Legend
According to Gopalraj Vamsavali, the oldest ever chronicle in Nepal, this
temple was built by Supus Padeva, a Linchchhavi King, who according to the
stone inscription erected by Jayadeva 11 in the courtyard of Pashupatinath
in 753 AD, happened to be the ruler 39 generations before Manadeva (464-505
The Devalaya Legend
Another chronicle states that Pashupatinath Temple was in the form of Linga
shaped Devalaya before Supus Padeva constructed a five storey temple of
Pashupatinath in this place. As the time passed, the need for reparing and
renovating this temple arose. It is learnt that this temple was
reconsturcted by a mediaeval King named Shivadeva (1099-1126 AD). It was
renovated by Ananta Malla adding a roof to it.
» Pashupati area is regarded as one of the most important places of
pilgrimages for the followers of Hinduism. Thousands of devotees from within
and outside the country come to pay homage to Pashupatinath every day. And
on special occasions like Ekadasi, Sankranti, Mahashivratri, Teej Akshaya,
Rakshabandhan, Grahana (eclipse), Poornima (Full moon day) the whole
atmosphere turns festive and mirthful as people congregate here in a far
» During the Shivaratri (also spelled Shivratri) festival
Pashupatinath temple is lit with ghee lamps throughout the night and the
temple remains open all night. Thousands of devotees take ritual baths in
the Bagmati river on the day of the festival and observe a fast for the
whole day. Hundreds of sadhus (sages) from different parts of Nepal and
India come here on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.
Auspicious Days to Visit
In August, during the Teej festival, thousands of women visit the temple to
bathe in the holy waters of the Bagmati River. Because this ritual is meant
to bring a long and happy marriage, many women dress in red saris, which are
traditionally worn for wedding ceremonies. Full moon and New moon days are
also considered auspicious to visit the temple.
Good to know
According to a legend recorded in local texts, especially the
Nepalamahatmya and the Himavatkhanda, the Hindu Lord Shiva once fled from
the other gods in Varanasi to Mrigasthali, the forest on the opposite bank
of the Bagmati River from the temple. There, in the form of a gazelle, he
slept with his consort Parvati. When the gods discovered him there and tried
to bring him back to Varanasi, he leapt across the river to the opposite
bank, where one of his horns broke into four pieces. After this, Shiva
became manifest as Pashupati (Lord of Animals) in a four-face (chaturmukha)
How to Reach
» There are regular bus services from Kathmandu (from Ratna Park or
City Bus Station) to Patan,. It takes approximately 45 minutes to reach
Goshala, the stop for Pashupatinath.
» Battery-operated Safaa tempos depart from near the Ratna Park office
in Kathmandu and drops the pilgrims at Ring Road, west of Pashupatinath.
Thereafter, a tempo going to Chabahil or Bodhnath can be hired.