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Pashupat Kshetra

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Introduction: 

The Pashupat Kshetra (region) consists of the Pashupatinath Temple, The Guheswari Temple, the Kirateswar Temple, the Rajrajeswari Temple, the Gorakhnath Temple and the Arya Ghat.  The Pashupatinath Temple is situated within the Kathmandu valley which houses antique relics right from the beginning of the Kirati civilization some 2000 years ago. Praised and worshiped as the guardian deity of the nation, Pashupatinath symbolizes the beginning of human settlement in the plains of Kathmandu valley. Legend has it that one day Lord Shiva wanted to come out of Mt.Kailash and be in solitude for sometime. He abandoned him home and his wife and without telling anyone escaped to live in the Slesmantak Forest in the Kathmandu Valley. Here he came to be known as Pashupati “the Lord of the Beasts” after which the Gods discovered his hiding place and came to fetch him.

The temple, it is believed is on the exact spot where he resided during his hiding. This temple recieves a large number of worshippers and pilgrims the entire year. It is considered the holiest pilgrimage destination in Nepal. There are linga images of Shiva along with statues, shrines, and temple dedicated to other deities in the complex. A temple of Lord Shiva existed at this site in 879 AD. The present temples were constructed by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1697. A gold-plated roof, silver doors, and wood carvings of the finest quality decorate the pagoda construction. Guheswari Temple, restored in AD 1653, represents the female "force". It is wife, who gave up her life in the flames of her father's fire ritual.

A stroll around the Pashupati area will take you past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eighth-century statue Brahma, the creator and numerous other temples. Some other places to visit are Rajrajeswari Temple, built in 1407, Kailash with lingas more than 1,400 years old, Gorakhnath temple, and the courtyard of Biswarup. There are rows of Shiva shines and Hindu pilgrims from all over South Asia offering Puja worship to Shiva, the Lord of Destruction.

The Bagmati River (held sacred by the Nepalese) flows close by and the Arya Ghat cremation grounds are here. Sadhus, sages who follow the lifestyle of Shiva, may be seen covered in ashes and loin- cloths. They ask for money in case you want to take their photos. The main Pashupatinath courtyard may be entered by only those who practice Hinduism.