Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pashupatinath is the most famous temple in Nepal and is located on the route to Boudhanath. Although non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, you can cross the Bagmati River and view the temple from the hill on the other side. Near the entrance you will see many people selling flower,s incense, and other offerings to be made to the deity. Inside is the golden pagoda and on the river banks you can sometimes see dead bodies being cremated on platforms. The Bagmati is a holy river and there is a burning ghat.

Pashupati means Lord of the Animals and nath means god. Pashupatinath is supposed to represent Shiva and the black image inside the temple has four heads. The temple itself is about three centuries old. It was renovated when the previous structure became decrepit. The idol is 600 years old, an earlier one was broken by Moslem invaders in the 14th century.

The big bull, Shiva’s animal (ride), inside the temple was built in the last century. The small bull in front of the temple is about three centuries old. The best time for visiting the temples is on Ekadashi, a day which occurs twice a day each month, 11th day of the full and new moon. On those days, there will be many pilgrims and a special ceremony in the evening called Arati characterized by the ringing of bells. There many also will be devotional music and illuminations. In the month of February, there is a big fair at the temple to celebrate Shiva’s birthday and another fair takes place in November.


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