Pashupatinath Darshan Yatra
“Destination of Sacred Birthright for Hindu”
The capital city, Kathmandu is enriched with temples more than homes and festivals exceeding the number of days in a year. The whole valley with its seven heritage sites has been enlisted in cultural World Heritage Site list. The place, which blends cultural vigor with modern facilities possible on earth is place liked by tourists been here. The place has more to offer and it is not only administrative capital of the country but to the fullest extend capital of traditional culture and physical resources. Three Durbar Squares – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath, Swoyambhunath and Changunarayan are the places most revered by the Kathmanduities and whole world.
Kathmandu is not big when one compares it to other cities in South Asia. Kathmandu is a fascinating old city today where pagodas, narrow cobbled lanes, old carved windows, and stone shrines are backdrops to the drama of life that continues unhindered. Here the experiences are amazing, views fascinating, and the climate charming.
There are living Goddesses whose smiles are a benediction. There are reincarnate Lamas who foresee the future with a roll of dice and scriptural reference. There are walks that lead the adventurous to legendary places where ogres once lived. There are hidden gardens behind palaces yet unseen and courtyards where miracles happen, and a city the Buddha visited
The word Pashupatinath is derived from three Sanskrit words “pashu” meaning animal or organism, “pati” meaning husband or protector and “nath” meaning “God”. The word “Shree” is a normal designation. Pashupatinath is hence considered as the protector of all the living organisms.
The myth of Pashupati appears to have been woven based on the original Dravidian deity Potu Raju. In Telugu language Potu means male animal and Raju means the King or the ruler. Thus Pashupati is just the Sanskrit name of Poturaju.
Pashupatinath is the most revered God of Nepal. The temple is the biggest Hindu temple of Lord Shiva located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu. Bagmati is considered as the most sacred place in Nepal the temple regarded as the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, until Nepal was secularized. It is regarded as the most sacred among the temples of Lord Shiva (Pashupati) The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
Believers in Pashupatinath (mainly Hindus) are allowed to enter the temple premises. Non-Hindu visitors are allowed to have a look at the top of hill to the east of the temple & from the other bank of Bagmati River its surroundings.
Pashupatinath is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It is not known for certain when Pashupatinath Temple was founded. But according to Nepal Mahatmaya and Himvatkhanda,one day Lord Shiva grew tired of his palace atop Mt. Kailash and so went in search of a place where he could escape to. He discovered Kathmandu Valley and, without telling anyone, he ran away from his palace and came to live in the Valley. He gained great fame there as Pashupati, Lord of the Animals, before the other gods discovered his hiding place and came to get him. He disguised himself as a majestic deer and would not help the other gods when they asked for his help. When Shiva did not yield to their appeals, they planned to use force. God Vishnu grabbed him by his horns and they shattered into pieces. Vishnu established a temple and used the broken horns to form a linga on the bank of the Bagmati River. As time went by, the temple was buried and forgotten. Then a cow was known to have secretly sprinkled her milk over the mound. Apparently, when the cow herders dug around the spot, they found the lost lingas and again built a temple in reverence. Pashupatinath is the other popular name of Shiva. Shiva in the form of Rudra was imagined by the early Aryans and later was worshipped in the form of a Linga, a Phallus, The main God or the Linga of Pashupatinath is carved on a blackish stone (a vertical piece of stone) placed in an upward position on a round base with four faces engraved on four sides of the Linga.
Shiva has been worshipped in Nepal from the beginning of the Neolithic civilization in the Kathmandu Valley, with scientific archaeological studies and findings around the temple proving that the god Pashupatinath was worshipped here from about the beginning of the Christian era. From about the 7th century onwards it became the first and foremost temple of Nepal, with kings, aristocrats and the rich offering a great deal of wealth and land in trust to the god, making it one of the richest temples in Nepal. Many temples and stat ues around the temple were added making it a big complex rather than just a temple.
The priests who perform the services at this temple have been Brahmins from South India since the time of Malla king Yaksha Malla This tradition is supposed to have started by the request of Adi Shankaracharya who sought to unify the different states of Bharatam (Unified India) by encouraging cultural exchange. This procedure is also followed in other temples around India which were sanctified by Adi Shankaracharya.Unlike India, Nepal’s Soverigneity was never attacked and conquered for centuries by foreigners because of her fairy Gurkhas soldier, however, Malla kings honored the request of Adi shankarachaya as latter being one of the greatest ever Hindu acharyas.
Another interpretation is that Indian priests are stationed at Pashupatinath because when the King passes away, the entire Nepali people are supposed to stop religious services and enter a year long period of mourning and as Pashupatinath needs to be eternally worshiped, Indians were brought in to make sure that Pashupatinath is worshiped even at the time of official mourning.
The unique feature of this temple is that only 4 priests can touch the idol. The priests are always from south India. This tradition is supposed to have started by Sage Shankaracharya in 6th century, ostensibly to stop human sacrifice which was prevalent in that temple. However,this tradition is recently challenged after the historic revolution in Nepal which demolished the monarchy and established democracy where Nepalese priests stating the fact that they are more suited for the post as they are as learned as south Indian priest and they know the unique complex culture of Kathmandu cities and Nepal as a whole which priest of south India distinctly lack.
Although the Pashupatinath Temple was only built in the fifth century and later renovated by Malla kings, the holy site is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium. The temple is of pagoda style of architecture. All the features of pagoda style is founded here like cubic constructions, beautifully carved wooden rafters on which they rest (tundal). The two level roofs are of copper with gold covering. It has four main doors, all covered with silver sheets. This temple has got gold pinnacle,(Gajur),which is a symbol of religious thought. The western door has a statue of large bull or Nandi, again covered in gold. The deity is of black stone, about 6 feet in height and the same in circumference. Vasukinath lies to the east of Pashupatinath. The temple starts swarming with devotees around 4am every morning.
Festivals & Event
Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva is the most important festival celebrated in this temple. Along the shores of the Bagmati river near the temple lies “Aara Ghat”, the most widely used place of cremation in Nepal, especially in and around Kathmandu Valley.On the day of Shivaratri thousands of devotes come to this temple,
Role in Hinduism
Pashupatinath is an avatar of Shiva, one of the Trinity of the Hinduism and also the male manifestation as opposed to Shakti. Pashupatinath, in a limited sense, literally means the Lord of the Animals. But animal is also a term that denotes the animal like instincts in human beings. Capable of destroying instantly every evil force either with his trident or the third eye, when it comes to his devotees, the Lord Pashupatinath destroys their ignorance. Be it an issue of material gain or release from the cycle of mortal existence he is the height of compassion, generosity, as well as consciousness.
Some important monuments to see in this area are: Gorakhnath, Rajrajeswari, Pancha-Dewal, Bankali, Arya-Ghat, Birupakchhya, Behind the temple is the River Bagmati. On the banks of Bagmati are raised platforms used as cremation sites for Hindus. Its rich surroundings of Temple, below on the edge of the Bagmati river the ghats where the dead are brought, it called Aryaghat.
Guheswari Temple : Guheswari Temple is located near Pashupatinath temple..It is another historic and holy temple and it name originates from guhya (vagina) and ishwari (goddess).. It represents female force. Guheswari temple, also spelled Guhyeshwari or Guhjeshwari temple is one of the revered holy temples in Kathmandu, Nepal. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Lord Shiva wandered the world carrying the body of Sathidevi after she burned herself to death. During this process, her yoni, the female sexual symbol, fell at this place. King Pratap Malla built this temple in the 17th century.
Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple courtyard. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter this temple.
Chabahil : The lovely Stupa of Chabahil is believed to have been built by Charumati, the daughter of the Indian Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C. There are ancient statues around the Stupa.
Chandra Vinayak : The temple of Chandra Vinayak is situated about 200m. North of Chabahil Stupa. This double tiered brass roofed temple houses a tiny image of Lord Ganesh, the elephant -headed god.
Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport is the international terminal linking the city to the world. Many airlines fly direct to Kathmandu. Domestic airlines fly throughout the country – the most popular route is Pokhara to Kathmandu.
If you’re adventurous, and have time on your hands, then the overland route is always the most exciting. Kathmandu is linked by good road transport from bordering cities of India like Birjung, Bhairawa, Kakirivitta, Nepaljung, Mahendranagar, Janakpur etc
Programme – I
Tour Highlights: This unique tours offer Culture & Historical heritage sites includes 5 culture heritage sites in Kathmandu valley sightseeing,
Trip Duration: 3 nights 4 days
|Day 01:||Arrival at Kathmandu
Pick up & transfers to Hotel, briefing about programme, evening leisure, overnight.
|Day 02:||Kathmandu city sightseeing
AM breakfast, afternoon half day city sightseeing in Kathmandu Place to visit – Pashupatinath, Gupteswori temple, Bouddha Nath, Swayambhu Nath stupa (Monkey’s temple), Patan Durbar Square with Krishna Temple, back to Hotel, evening Leisure, overnight.
|Day 03:||Kathmandu city sightseeing
Am Breakfast, Afternoon sightseeing of Bhaktapur durbar square & Kathmandu Durbar Square , Evening shopping or rest, overnight in Hotel.
|Day 04:||Departure to onward Destination|
Tour Highlights: This unique tours offer Culture & Historical heritage sites includes 5 culture heritage sites in Kathmandu, Many Panoramic views of Himalayas Including Mt. Everest.
Trip Duration: 4 nights 5 days
|Day 01:||Arrival at Kathmandu
Arrival in Kathmandu Pickup from Airport, transfers to Hotel, Briefing about programme , Evening leisure, overnight
Early in the morning go for Mountain Flight, back to Hotel. After breakfast Kathmandu city Sightseeing, Place to visit – Pashupatinath, Bouddha Nath, Budhanilkantha, Swayambhu Nath stupa (Monkey’s temple) Kathmandu Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square with Krishna Temple. Back to hotel, overnight.
|Day 3:||Kathmandu – Bhaktapur
Am breakfast, afternoon drive to Bhaktapur after visit to Bhaktpur Durbar Square& Changu Narayan Temple, Overnight at Hotel.
|Day 4:||AM breakfast, Full day free time for rest or shopping, Evening Leisure, overnight at Hotel|
|Day 5:||Transfer to Airport for final departure to onward Destination|