Pashupatinath Temple (#10 of 12)
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Name: Pashupatinath Temple
Date built: At least 1500 years ago
Primary deity: Pashupatinath
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Pashupatinath temple is a Hindu temple located on the shore of the Bagmati river on the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
It is regarded as the most sacred temple of Shiva (Pashupati) in Nepal. Shivaratri or night of lord Shiva is the most important festival celebrated in this temple. Along the shores of the Bagmati river near the temple lies Arya Ghat, the most widely used place of cremation for the deceased in Nepal, especially in and around the Kathmandu valley. There is also a large market in the streets surrounding the temple. Vendors sell souvenirs to tourists, but also cloth, dyes, and religious supplies. Believers of the faith Hinduism are allowed to enter the temple, but only if they were born in the religion. Non-Hindu visitors are allowed to have a look at the temple from the other bank of Bagmati river.
The priests who perform the services at this temple has always beenBrahmins from South India. This tradition is supposed to have started by the request of Shankaracharya (Indian high preist in line with Jagadguru system)to Nepal's King in 6th century,for the practice and achievement of sacred,secret and top most shiva sadhana (Tantra). 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 the Pashupatinath needs to be eternally worshiped, Indians were brought to make sure that the Pashupatinath is worshipped even at the time of official mourning. However,the appointment of such priests from India was first questioned on its own validity during the reign of Malla Kings some 300 years ago.This voice became more and more strong and Nepalese vedic scholars gave the hints that Nepalese Priest should be appointed instead of Indians because they are as much qualified as Indian priest and moreover they know more about local festivals and rituals.Despite,the growing dissatisfaction over priest appointments, Nepal's kings continue the old tradition of appointments only to keep the words given to shankarcharya by their forefather. After the last king of Nepal in 2007, the Indian priest who well understood the feelings of Nepalese people handed his resignation from the top post.
The temple is of pagoda architecture. The two level roofs are of copper with gold covering. It has four main doors, all covered with silver sheets. The western door has a statue of large bull or Nandi, again covered in gold. The deity is of black stone, about 6 ft in height and about 6ft circumference.
The priests are called Bhattas and the chief priest is known as Mool Bhatt or Raval. The chief priest is answerable only to the King of Nepal and reports to him on the matters of temple on periodic basis.
East of the temple is the Vasukinath.
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