Location: In Kathmandu, near the banks of Bagmati River
How to reach: Hire a cab or share an Auto-Rickshaw
Attraction: Deities and other sculptures. Non-Hindus are not allowed to venture in the main premises.
Pashupatinath is not only the holiest Hindu pilgrimage in Nepal but also one of the holiest destinations in the entire world. This temple that has been declared UNESCO Heritage site has been erected and razed to the ground numerous times. There are lingam images of Shiva along with statues and temples dedicated to other deities in the complex. There is historical evidence that a temple dedicated to Shiva existed at this site in AD 879. What happened of that temple, nobody knows. However, King Bhupatindra Malla built the present temple in the year 1697. The present temple is the subtle work of architecture with its gold-plated roof, be-jeweled doors, flowered motifs and woodcarvings of the finest quality. The square-shaped pagoda like temple, which is built on a single platform of 24 meters in height, stands in the middle of an open courtyard. The entrance of the temple is from all the four sides and is decorated by gold-gilt doors. Inside the temple there is a narrow walk engulfing the sanctum from where one can have closer view of Shivlinga.
On the both sides of each door of the temple there are artistic niche of different sizes containing attractive images of Apsara, Ashtha Bhairava and other gods and goddesses. Nearly all these paintings have been done in gold. The latticed windows are lift from the Bhutanese monasteries. The beams that support the roofs have pictures that depict different sexual and suggestive postures. On the upper part of the beam that supports the lower roof, the images of moon, sun and a Purna-Kalasha have been carved out.
In the central sanctum of the temple lies the 3 feet high Shivlinga. The major difference between this and other Shivlingas in India is the fact that the Shivlinga at Pashupatinath is four faced. The face looking east is called Tatpurusha where as the ones in west, north and south are called Sadhyojata, Vamadeva and Aghora. The upper portion of this lingam is known as Ishan.
Pashupatinath area is regarded as one of the most important places of pilgrimages for the followers of Hinduism in the entire world. Thousands of devotees come to pay homage to Pashupatinath every day. On special occasions like Ekadasi, Sankranti, Maha Shivaratri, Teej Akshaya, Rakhi, Grahana (eclipse), Poornima (Full moon day) people congregate here in far greater number.