This is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Only Hindus are allowed into the main temple. However non-Hindus can go to the outer area and the area near the Bhagmati Bridge to view the arti and the cremation of the dead.
There are many monkeys in the temple, so make sure you are not carrying plastic bags, fruits or other offerings openly. There is a place to leave your footwear.
There is an arti on the backside of the temple facing the river and the back of the temple. You can view it from the Bridge. It is a spectacular sight with divine live music. I will shortly post videos of the same.
Shiva can take many forms and one of them is Pashupati Lord of Beasts.
This large complex on the banks of the Bagmati River is where Hindu cremations take place. We started out in an area overlooking the funeral pyres on the banks of the river. I was not comfortable here. Below me was a family obviously grief stricken and in the process of burying their father. I felt intrusive and inappropriate.
If you are very interested in the Hindu belief system, you may find a visit here fascinating. Bodies are washed, covered in orange cloth, surrounded by straw and burnt on pyres. The ashes are thrown into the river.
We quickly crossed the bridge over the Bagmati River and observed the complex from a greater distance. We had a guide who told us that Hindus come here to contemplate life and how they enter and leave this world with nothing. He thought of it as a peaceful place excellent for meditation.
Climbing up the hillside a bit you pass many pilgrim shelters filled with painted sadhus (holy men) in brightly coloured robes. Many of these are supposed to be fakes only there to charge tourists for taking their photo. We passed one who was singing with a bum,titty,titty and a titty, titty bum, which I believe used to be the theme tune to Budgie a Glaswegian TV show from my youth. Very odd. There is also a small forest with deer and monkeys.
Views over Pashupatinath are better from the far side of the bridge away from the cremation pyres. Non-Hinduhs cannot enter the temple of Pashupatinath itself. Entrance was NPR500.
If you are lucky enough to be in Kathmandu when during a religious festival at Pashiptinath it will be an excellent time to get some good photographs of the Holy Men who will congregate there. None of them objected to having their photo taken. It is not unusual to find a western who has dropped out of his way of life and become a Holy Man.
Lord Shiva's most important temple is this one which was originally constructed on this site 1,600 years ago and was rebuilt more recently. This is a Hindu temple by the Bagmati River where you can see cremations being performed every day. Unlike Varanasi in India photography is tolerated but stand back and use a zoom lens so as not to upset the locals. The families bring their dead who are normally wrapped up in a white cloth. They are placed on stands and straw and firewood are placed around them before setting light to them. After 2 or 3 hours the remains are placed in the river which runs through the temple. Be aware that the smell of burning flesh is not so nice. Sometimes if the people are poor they will leave the sick outside the temple.
Pashupatinath Shiva Temple (Shiva is Pashupati) is walking distance from Boudha Stupa (or a short taxi ride) and this Hindu temples is the oldest in Kathmandu and is an UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of the major attractions of Kathmandu. There are some photo ops of Sadhus and it seems to be a very commercial enterprise for them to get into your photographs.
This temple was connected to the Lingayat movement of Baseveshwara in Karnataka and the priests who perform the services at this temple speaks Kannada (probably the only one in Nepal who speaks Kannada). I was going to search for the Kannada priest and talk to him in Kannada, but the complex was too big and I did not want to pay money to go deeper into the temple complex.
Why a revisit ? Hindus believe that if we ask something from God with a clear heart it is possible. We too have been trying to settle down to Kolkata for sometime but somehow we were not able to get a place of our own. In 2007 we visited Kathmandu and the first thing we did to visit Pashupatinath ( Lord Shiva), we made a request to him that if we get our own place we shall come back and offer prayer to him. Our wish was fulfilled with an year in 2008! So a visit to this temple was necessary with in a year of wish fulfillment. It was well past and God was reminding me to come, hence was the revisit. Sounds funny? Well just ask any believer, he will vouch for it.
I believe in HIM. That's it.
Photography or any bag is not allowed inside temple premises. There are lockers available for bags and shoes. This temple allows only Hindus to go inside but people from any religion can visit the temple from the other side of Baghmati river. Please remember Nepal follows the ancient form of Hinduism. They also eat Buffalo meat, where as Indian Hindus do not eat Buffalo or sell from the shop.
This is where a Hindu life ends (and restarts, maybe) in Kathmandu. It is the biggest Shiva temple in Kathmandu. Temple is located on the banks of Bagmati River. We watched some ceremonies and rituals from the other bank, between stupas. Monkeys were wandering around where we were.
There are several places for cremation. First, some people prepare the deceased by the river. The body was covered with a white cloth. There was another orange cloth over the white one, also. After the rituals, deceased one had placed over the woods and again covered with more woods. The cremation process takes hours and even after hours, skull and some bones can be unharmed. There were some people to finish the job of flames and clean the cremation areas for newcomers.
While the ashes wiped into the river, children were playing in the water, a dog was crossing the river…
Life goes on.
An important Hindu temple to Shiva is in this area. Here you will see monkeys, cremations, sadhus (beware of imposers who are after your money - they want you to take a picture with them and charge a lot of money!) etc.
It is a huge complex and worth wondering around for a while. It is also here, on the banks of the Bagmati river where cremations take place. The ghats are clearly visible with huge burning fires.
Across the river, there are 11 stone ‘stupas’. There are two foot bridges crossing the river. You have good views of the temples and the ghats from this side.
The Temple is not open for non-Hindus
Entrance fee of NRs 50
You'll have to take a cab here, cos it's on the other side of town, what side? I don't know but it's too far to walk. This is the only part of Kathmandu that was like India, and by that I mean it was pretty filthy. Tons of temples, shrines, ancient crud and a whole lot of stoned "sadus" which seems to be the local version of Deadheads. It was the day after Shiva's birthday so I guess all these dopers were milkin' the holiday, I wonder what they do for work? Probably back to the bank on Monday... Anyway, it's a cool place to go & there's kids around who will tell you all about it (for a price), you'll go, why not?
The temple of Pashupatinath is Nepal's most sacred Hindu shrine and lies just 5km east of Kathmandu. The main temple houses the sacred "linga" (or phallus) of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. Sections of the temple complex have been renovated and rebuilt after earthquakes, and there have been hundreds of additions over the centuries. Entrance to the central shrine is restricted to Hindus, but you can obtain great views of the complex from the cool and quiet forest paths above the river, themselves leading to secluded shrines. Pashupatinath is also a popular cremation site, and the smoke rising from the temple banks carries a distinct whiff of mortality - grisly but an important cultural tradition.
The temple of Pashupatinath is the richest and holiest Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is merely 6 km east of Kathmandu and a center of annual pilgrimage on the day of Maha Shivaratri which falls in the month of February/March. This temple is situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River. The temple in Pagoda style has gold gilted two tier roof and richly carved silver doors which are famous for the superb architecture. The premise of this temple is accessible only to hindus. Visitors and non-hindus are permitted to view the temple only from the east bank of River Bagmati.
Pashupati nath temple is considered to be the largest and holiest of the Shiva temples. This is a two-tiered golden temple with four silver doorways, hundreds of Shiva linga's shrines and holy symbols. It is located on the holy river Bagmati, 6 km east of Kathmandu . Non- Hindus are not allowed into this temple.
The cremation ghats immediately in front of the Pashupati Temple, north of the footbridges, are for the cremation of royalties, though you’ll often see ritual bathing taking place in here.
Cremation of non-royalty takes place on the 6 ghats south to the footbridges.
A cremation ceremony can take some time, but I think it a memorable experience if you have the stomach - everything starts with a ritual bath (seems the dead are entitled to it as well, not only the living), then moving the body to the designated cremation ghat. A little ceremony of farewell from the family with the body on top of the log fires, and finally the fire lit. a few hours later, ashes thrown in the holy river, the soul of the dead is ready for, hopefully, another happy reincarnation. And there are 1000 incarnations….
For more info and pics, visit my Pashupatinath page.
Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati holy river is the Nepali equivalent of the Varanassi in India – a pilgrimage centre for ritual baths and a popular place to be cremated, in preparation for the next incarnation.
Hence, many temples, shikharas, shrines and ghats for the ritual bathing and cremation have been constructed along the centuries and, although most of them date back from earlier periods, the monuments you will see are the result of the renovation works in the 17th and 19th centuries. Among them, the Pashupathi Temple, boasting the largest and most extended precinct of a Hindu temple in the whole Kathmandu Valley.
Unlike Varanassi in India, the local customs in Pashupatinath on taking photos are more relaxed….for the time being at least.
For more info and pics, visit my Pashupatinath pages.
After a small entrance fee for all foreigner one can enter the temple area, walk around or climb up to the Stupa. There is a small shop on the right hand side once you enter it. Just walk further couple of shops, they sell nice cloth material, cheap and of good quality. Jewellry shops around the same were decent also.