Got a spare day and wondering where to go? How does a 3- 4 hours of visit to, the world’s most renowned Hindu Pilgrimage site (enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage List), Pashupatinath sound like? The sight of the colorful Sadhus (holy wandering monks), the mournful Cremations performed by Hindus, the architecture, the bells ringing, the rhythmical verses being chanted, the smell of the incense sticks, the greenery nearby, the ambience! All this contributing to an experience so ultimate, it’s definitely a day well spent!
Non- Hindus are not allowed inside the main temple, but you can move around the surrounding areas which is still breathtaking. With only NRs 250 to 500 entry fee for tourists, you get to walk through the bustling markets selling religious artifacts and Prasads (offerings to gods). With abundance of structures dedicated to Hindu God Shiva, such as Shaivite shrines, lingams and temples, I assure you that this place is nothing less than a photographers’ paradise!
Be Aware of them
With bands of monkey warriors terrorizing the area, be sure to keep your belongings safe as these little buggers tend to snatch whatever they lay their hands on. My advice is ‘Do not cross paths with our little ancestors’!
Visit to Pashupatinath not only gives you awesome pictures to take home but also provides you a very interesting insight into Hindu cultures, beliefs and faith. It suggests that cremation (burning your body after death) is the only rightful passage to Moksha (liberation of the soul). The funerals at the Arya Ghat (cremating grounds) along the Bagmati river (holy river) might be a totally new experience for you! However, be respectful with your camera at the cremating grounds. You wouldn’t want to upset the bereaved relatives at a funeral now, would you?
A View and Experience so rare
Also, across the Bagmati river along either side of the stone steps are groups of ‘Photo Me’ Sadhus loitering around in outlandish paraphernalia hoping to make a little money posing for tourists. I always wondered why someone would leave the pleasures of their home to live the life of a Sadhu, deprived of practically everything a normal human being would kill for. The first question you might want to ask one of them, perhaps?
Another sight you wouldn’t want to miss is the evening “Aarati” (an everyday event worshipping the gods). A true spiritual feeling if you ask me. Candles and Diyos (lighting structures made of clay) lighting the night sky, along with hundreds of pilgrims singing prayer songs and chants to the gods is a spine tingling feeling.
With varieties of people along with even larger varieties of temples, shrines and Sadhus, Pashupatinath is not only a sacred Hindu temple but also an escape to your ultimate spiritual enlightenment. A must visit place in any traveler’s book if you ask me!
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