Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most significant Hindus temple of Lord Shiva in the world, located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The temple serves as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams (Holy Abodes of Shiva) on the continent. Over the past times, only born Hindus were allowed to enter the temple. Others could look at it from other side of the river. However, the norms have been relaxed due to many incidents. If the individual is destined, he/she takes and completes the journey to reach these footsteps without any resistance or obstructions along the way, is believed to be under loving grace of Rudra. It is final stage of harsh penance. Thus, the slave (pasu – the human condition) becomes the master (pati – the divine condition).The Bagmati River, which runs next to Pashaputinath Temple, has highly sacred properties. Thus the banks are lined with many ghats (bathing spots) for use by pilgrims. Renovating or furnishing these sites has always been regarded as meritorious.
The temple of Pashupatinath is Nepal’s most scared Hindu shrines and one of the subcontinent’s greatest Shiva sites, a sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river.
The richly- ornamented pagoda, houses the sacred linga or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temlple’s existence prior to 400 A.D, but a shrine may have stood here nearly 1000 years before that. Legend says that 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 and overtime 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 temple complex has been renovated and improved over the centuries. Entrance to the shrine is only restricted to Hindus, however, one can still get the good view of the sacred temple from vantage points across Bagmati river. Across the river, one can also visit the temple of Guhyeshwori and a classic 6th century ekmukhi “one-faced” linga of Shiva.