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Pashupatinath Temple

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Nestled along the sacred banks of the Bagmati River, the Pashupatinath Temple stands as the most revered Hindu shrine in the heart of Nepal. As a bastion of Hindu spirituality, the main temple complex graciously welcomes Hindus, while non-Hindus are welcomed to observe from the terraces on the eastern banks of the Bagmati River. A stringent code of reverence and tradition governs the temple grounds, mandating the exclusion of leather items, including shoes, belts, and cameras, from the sacred space. Devotees adhere to this sacred custom, placing these items outside, and within the premises, the act of photography is strictly prohibited.

The pinnacle of celebration at this hallowed site is Shivaratri, fondly known as ‘the Night of Lord Shiva,’ a commemoration of the night when Lord Shiva self-originated. Ascetics, holy men adorned in ashes, and pilgrims from diverse corners of Nepal and India converge at the temple during this festival, eager to catch a glimpse of the sacred Shiva lingam. Teej, a significant Hindu women’s festival in mid-September, is another occasion that draws a multitude of devotees. The temple complex and its surroundings undergo a transformative sea of red as women, draped in bridal red sarees and bedecked with yellow or green bead necklaces, offer fervent prayers for the well-being and longevity of their husbands. On the 11th day of the lunar month on Ekadashi, the temple consistently attracts devotees, with the Harishayani Ekadashi in Ashadh (June/July) and the Haribodhini Ekadashi in Kartik (October/November) holding special reverence among the Ekadashis.

The sacred site is cradled by the Slesh Mantak forest, an enchanting enclave inhabited by monkeys and captive deer. This wooded expanse pays homage to the animal form that Lord Shiva assumed, as detailed in the Swasthani Brata Katha.

Adding to the captivating allure of the Pashupatinath Temple is the Pashupati Bagmati Aarati, a ritual that captivates devotees from across the country and different parts of the world. Whenever visitors embark on a pilgrimage to the temple, this engaging ceremony becomes an integral part of their spiritual journey.

Adjacent to the Pashupatinath Temple lies Guhyeshwari, a renowned Shakti Peeth. Entry to this sacred site is restricted to non-Hindus. The goddess is symbolized by a silver-plated waterhole, its sanctity preserved under the cover of a silver kalash. The Swasthani Brata Katha intricately narrates the temple’s origin, tracing it back to the sorrowful wandering of Shiva, who carried the lifeless body of his beloved consort, Sati Devi. As her body parts fell at different locations, Shakti Peeths emerged, drawing celestial beings to these sanctified spots. Guhyeshwari, where the anal portion of Sati Devi’s body descended, became one such holy site, earning its name through the poignant narrative enshrined in the Holy Hindu text, Swasthani Brata Katha.

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