Pashupatinath Temple is one of the national heritage of Nepal. People admire the Pashupatinath temple for its famous Hindu temples. We can find this temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu Valley. Lots of Hindu people visit this place to show their devotion and worship Lord Shiva.
UNESCO listed this temple in the World Heritage in 1979. Thus this temple is not only the property of the nation but also of the world. So we can imagine how many people from the world visit Nepal just to get a glimpse of this temple. Due to this reason, this temple has contributed not only to the religious aspect of Nepal but also has provided the world recognition to Nepal and has economically benefitted Nepal
We can find an extensive collection of temples, inscriptions, temples in Pashupatinath temple. These structures are also one of those reasons which have made the Pashupatinath attractive.
As already mentioned, this temple is one of the famous religious sites for Hindu people. Thus we can find a lot of fascinating history and stories related to this place. According to records, Licchavi King Prachanda Dev recreated the temple in the 5th century after the termites destroyed the previous building.
Along the timeline, different people constructed different temples, including Vaishnava temple, Guhyeshwari temple, and others. Though people from different timelines have built lots of temples and other timelines, we do not know for sure when the temple was built.
People believe that though they do not know who created the temple, they have identified the deity as Pashupati as long as their memory serves. The God Pashupati is the lord of Pashus. It means that God is the lord to all the living and non-living beings in the world. Nobody knows for sure about the origin of this temple. So there are many legends related to the source of the temple.
Since this temple revolves around Lord Shiva, the origin of this time revolves around Lord Shiva. Among the different chronicles harboring this temple of the legend are described below.
According to these legends, people believe that destroyer Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati one took the form of antelope and roamed in the forest near the Bagmati river. At that moment, the Gods unknown about this form of Lord Shiva stumbled upon the antelope. They grabbed the antelope with one of its horns. This encounter forced Lord Shiva to come back to his divine form, breaking the horn.
The course of time buried the broken horn. Later, herdsmen found one of their cows milking a particular spot every time they passed the area. Filled with curiosity, they decided to dig the site and found the broken horn. People now worship it as the Shivalinga.
According to this chronicle, Supuspa Deva constructed the five-story temple of Pashupatinath. The temple was in the form of Linga shaped Devalaya before. Over time, people from different timelines repaired and renovated this temple. Medieval King Shivadeva, Ananta Malla, and other kings join the list of the people reconstructing this temple.
According to this legend, Lichhavi king Prachanda Dev is the one who built the Pashupatinath temple.
Another legend involving Lord Shiva is the story in which Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati visited the Bagmati river and its forest in the form of deer. People believe that one upon a time, Shiva and Parvati visited Kathmandu Valley, and they stumbled upon Bagmati, where they decided to rest.
Shiva, after the expedition of the place, found it very attractive and alluring. He then decided to stay in the area for a while. So they changed into the form of a deer and roamed the forest. Due to the absence of Lord Shiva, there were many complications in the world. So people and other Gods started to search for Lord Shiva.
Gods came to know that they could find Shiva in the Bagmati forest. So they went to him, but he refused to leave. After much difficulty, they persuaded Lord Shiva to part with them. Eventually, Lord Shiva decided that people would know him as Pashupatinath from then. He lived for a long time in his deer’s form. So people would know him as Lord of Pashus or all animals.
It is another legend related to a cow. However, in this legend, there is extraordinary that people call Kamadhenu. People knew this cow as a wish-fulfilling cow. According to the legend, the cow once took shelter in Chandravan mountain. To the people astonishment, they noticed this cow coming down the hill. It then poured milk to the same spot every day.
When people after thousand years found out the spot, they wondered about it. They then dug the place and found a shining lingam. Later they established a temple and worshipped it.
Nepalese culture is full of multiple festivals celebrating different occasions. Among the various festivals celebrated, people visit this temple at different times. However, we can find a large crowd of people in this temple on Maha Shiva Ratri and Teej Festival.
Maha Shiva Ratri festival is the festival dedicated to Lord Shiva. In this festival, Hindu people worship Lord Shiva all around the world. Since Pashupatinath temple is the biggest temple for Lord Shiva, so people visit this place. People not only from Nepal but also from other countries like India visit to worship the destroyer, Lord Shiva.
Similarly, another festival in which people crowd this place is Teej. Teej is the festival of women. In this festival, women married or unmarried visit Pashupatinath temple. People believe that on this auspicious day, Goddess Parvati fasted to get Lord Shiva. So people influenced by this mythology, unmarried women fast to get a good husband like Lord Shiva.
In the same fashion, married women also fast on this day to increase the longevity of their husbands. Married women believe that fasting on this day will increase the life span of their husbands, bring happiness in their married life, and will also make the bond between the husband and wife stronger.
Pashupatinath temple consists of lots of temples, shrines, statues, ashrams, inns, and other structures. We can divide the temple into an inner and outer courtyard.
In the inner courtyard, we can find temples and shrines as Vasuki Nath temple, Unmatta Bhairava temple, Buddhanilakantha shrine, Hanuman shrine, Surya Narayana temple, 184 Sivalinga shrine.
In the outer courtyard, we can find ram mandir, Guyeshwari temple. Virat Swaroop temple and other temples.
Pashupatinath temple is our commonwealth. We must think about its prosperity, development, and maintenance. We should visit the place to enjoy the site. However, we should not do any action that harms the image of this temple. We should not damage the property present in the temple.
With the increase in the population in our country, the habitat around the Pashupatinath temple has also increased. UNESCO has warned us to reduce the habitat around Pashupatinath to keep it enlisted in the World Heritage Site. We should heed this warning carefully.
Likewise, it is common knowledge among the people about the pollution related to the Bagmati River. People organize several campaigns, time and time to keep pollution under control. We should also contribute to these campaigns and decrease pollution in the Pashupatinath temple.