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Pashupatinath Temple (Nepali: ) Nepal's most sacred Hindu

shrine and one of the greatest Shiva sites, is located on the banks of the
agmati !iver " kilometres north#east of $athmandu %alle& in the eastern cit&
of $athmandu, the capital of Nepal' The temple serves as the seat of the
national deit&, (ord Pashupatinath' This Hindu temple precinct is on )N*S+,
-orld Heritage Sites's list'./0 This 1e2tensive Hindu temple precinct1 is a
1spra3ling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised
over the centuries along the banks of the sacred agmati river1 and is
included as one of the seven monument groups in )N*S+,'s designation of
$athmandu %alle& as a cultural heritage site'.40
The temple is one of the 45" Paadal Petra Sthalams (Hol& 6bodes of Shiva) on
the continent' ,ver the past times, onl& born Hindus 3ere allo3ed to enter
the temple' ,thers could look at it from other side of the river' Ho3ever, the
norms have been rela2ed due to man& incidents' 7f the individual is destined,
he8she takes and completes the 9ourne& to reach these footsteps 3ithout an&
resistance or obstructions along the 3a&, is believed to be under loving grace
of !udra' 7t is :nal stage of harsh penance' Thus, the slave (pasu # the human
condition) becomes the master (pati # the divine condition)'
$otirudra Samhita, +hapter // on the Shivalingas of the North, in Shiva
Purana mentions this Shivalinga as the besto3er of all 3ishes' ,ne of the
ma9or ;estivals of the temple is <aha Shivaratri on 3hich da& over 5==,===
devotees visit here'.>0
+ontents
/ (egend
4 Histor&
> ,rigin beliefs
? ;inding Shiva (inga at Pashupatinath Temple
" Temple architecture
@ +ontrovers& of 4==A
5 Baller&
C !eferences
A *2ternal links
(egend
Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in $athmandu' 7t is not
kno3n for certain 3hen Pashupatinath Temple 3as founded' ut according to
Nepal <ahatma&a and Himvatkhanda,.?0 the deit& here gained great fame
there as Pashupati, the (ord of all Pashus, 3hich are living as 3ell as non#
living beings'
Pashupatinath Temple's e2istence dates back to ?== 6'D' The richl&#
ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or hol& s&mbol of (ord Shiva'
There are man& legends describing as to ho3 the temple of (ord
Pashupatinath came to e2istence here' Some of them are narrated belo3:#
The +o3 (egend
(egend sa&s that (ord Shiva once took the form of an antelope and sported
unkno3n in the forest on agmati river's east bank' The gods later caught up
3ith him, and grabbing him b& the horn, forced him to resume his divine
form' The broken horn 3as 3orshipped as a linga but overtime it 3as buried
and lost' +enturies later an astonished herdsmen found one of his co3s
sho3ering the earth 3ith milk' Digging deep at the site, he discovered the
divine linga of Pashupatinath'
The (inchchhavi (egend
6ccording to Bopalra9 %amsavali, the oldest ever chronicle in Nepal, this
temple 3as built b& Supuspa Deva, a (inchchhavi $ing, 3ho according to the
stone inscription erected b& Ea&adeva // in the court&ard of Pashupatinath in
5"> 6D, happened to be the ruler >A generations before <anadeva (?@?#"="
6D)'
The Devala&a (egend
6nother chronicle states that Pashupatinath Temple 3as in the form of (inga
shaped Devala&a before Supuspa Deva constructed a :ve store& temple of
Pashupatinath in this place' 6s the time passed, the need for repairing and
renovating this temple arose' 7t is learnt that this temple 3as reconstructed
b& a medieval $ing named Shivadeva (/=AA#//4@ 6D)' 7t 3as renovated b&
6nanta <alla adding a roof to it'."0.@0 Thousands of pilgrims from all over the
3orld come to pa& homage to this temple, that is also kno3n as 'The Temple
of (iving eings''
Shakti Peetha
<ain article: Buh&esh3ari Temple
The Shakti Peetha, the divine shine of <other Boddess is located near to the
Pasupanath Temple' 7t is said that the temple is the Shakti of the Shiva in
Pasupanath Temple' The shrine is one of the "/ ma9or Shakti Peetha all over
South 6sia' The Buh&esh3ari Temple is near the agmati !iver'
Histor&
The temple 3as erected a ne3 in the /5th centur& b& $ing hupatindra <alla
after the previous building had been consumed b& termites'.50 +ountless
further temples have been erected around this t3o #storied temple' These
include the %aishnav temple comple2 3ith a !am temple from the /?th
centur& and the Buh&esh3ari Temple mentioned in an //th#centur&
manuscript' The priests 3ho perform the services at this temple have been
hat#rahmins from South 7ndia ($arnataka) origin since last >"= &ears' The
priests of Pashupatinath are called hattas and the chief priest is called <ool
hatt or !aval' The chief priest is ans3erable onl& to the $ing of Nepal and
reports to him on temple matters on a periodic basis'
The Namboothiri rahmins from $erala, 7ndia 3ere given the chair to do the
rites and rituals' The Travancore <ahara9a selected the apt priest and send
him to Pashupatinath in Nepal'This tradition is reported to have started b&
the reFuest of 6di Shankarachar&a 3ho sought to unif& the diGerent states of
haratam ()ni:ed 7ndia) b& encouraging cultural e2change' The uniFue
feature of this temple is that onl& ? priests can touch the deit&' This tradition
is also supposed to have started b& Sage Shankarachar&a in Cth centur&,
ostensibl& to stop human sacri:ce 3hich 3as prevalent in that temple' This
procedure is also follo3ed in other temples around 7ndia 3hich 3ere
sancti:ed b& 6di Shankarachar&a' <alla kings honoured the reFuest of 6di
shankaracha&a as latter being one of the greatest ever Hindu achar&as'
,rigin beliefs
There are several comple2 stories involving the origins of Pashupatinath' ,ne
stor& goes, in brief, that Shiva and Parvati came to the $athmandu %alle& and
rested b& the agmati 3hile on a 9ourne&' Shiva 3as so impressed b& its
beaut& and the surrounding forest that he and Parvati changed themselves
into deers and 3alked into the forest' <an& spots in the $athmandu %alle&
are identi:ed as places 3here Shiva 3ent during his time as a deer' 6fter
a3hile the people and gods began to search for Shiva' ;inall&, after various
complications, the& found him in the forest, but he refused to leave' <ore
complications ensued, but ultimatel& Shiva announced that, since he had
lived b& the agmati in a deer's form, he 3ould no3 be kno3n as
Pashupatinath, (ord of all 6nimals' 7t is said that 3hoever came here and
beheld the lingam that appeared there 3ould not be reborn as an animal'
6nother origin stor& involves Parvati's incarnation as Sati, 3ho gave up her
life because her father didn't respect Shiva' Brieved at losing her, Shiva
3andered the 3orld carr&ing her bod&' -herever pieces of her bod& fell,
temples 3ere established, including one at Buh&eshvari ad9oining the
Pashupatinath comple2'.C0
;inding Shiva (inga at Pashupatinath Temple
7t is said that the 3ish#ful:lling co3 $amadhenu took shelter in a cave on the
+handravan mountain' *ver&da& $amadhenu 3ent do3n to the place the
lingam 3as sunken into the soil and poured her milk on top of the soil' 6fter
ten thousand &ears some people sa3 $amadhenu pouring milk on that same
spot ever&da&, and started to 3onder 3hat that 3ould be' So the& removed
the soil and found the beautiful shining lingam' 6fter having a good look the&
disappeared into the lingam, freed from sin and rebirths' <ore and more
people came to look and more people disappeared into the lingam' This 3as
a big concern for rahma'