Pashupatinath Temple is a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Pashupatinath. It is situated on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu Valley. The place is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1979.
The temple was built anew in the 17th century by King Bhupatindra Malla. The whole area spreads on 264 hectares comprising 518 temples and monuments. The main temple is built in the Nepalese pagoda architecture style.
There are a various myths on how the temple of Lord Pashupatinath was created. Here is one of them:
The cow myth
Lord Shiva once transformed into an antelope and wandered unknown in the forest near the Bagmati River. The gods found him and grabbed him by the horn, forcing him to retrieve his deity form. The broken horn was worshipped as a lingam (a symbol of divine generative energy as a symbol of Shiva). Through the decades it was buried and lost. Centuries later a herdsmen discovered one of his cows showering the earth with milk. He dug deep at the place he found his cow and recovered the lose lingam of Pashupatinath.
On site, you will find a crowded place. Along the main entrance path you will see the ticket office on your right. The entry is 1000NPR without guide. You will be told you cannot go everywhere but the only place you cannot access is the main temple. Therefore do not hesitate to walk around and take time to visit the area.
You will be asked to be very respectful when walking near the crematoriums. Dead bodies are buried on wooden altars in front of the families and to everybody’s sight. We strongly recommend not taking any picture, as this would be disrespectful and inconvenient towards the grieving families. As well, be aware that the smell may be strong and disturbing.
During your whole visit, guides will propose you their services. If you wish to learn more about the myth and legends of the place you can ask them but remember to bargain for a price you estimate correct for a guided tour of about 1h to 1h30.
Be careful when taking pictures, people may feel offended, and gurus will ask you money, it is up to you to estimate the correct tip to give them but we recommend ~10 - 20NPR. Beggars may be insistent, but don’t feel pressured to give them money. Also mind the people coming up to you with flowers and colored powder. They will draw a dot on your forehead without asking you and then demanding a lot of money in return. If it happened to you, do not give them more than ~30NPR. Don’t be scared to say no to more money and walk away ignoring them.
The taxi is the best way to get to Pashupatinath. From our guesthouse, you can bargain your ride for ~500NPR to go and ~600NPR to come back. Note that if you come back in the evening, the price may increase slightly to ~650NPR. Taxi prices are always a bit more expensive to come back as our street is very quiet and it will be more difficult for taxi driver to find new clients.