- A neck like a conch shell
- A body like a banyan tree
- Eyelashes like a cow
- Thighs like deer
- Soft voice
- Daring as lion
Text copied from ezinearticles
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The Holiest Hindu Temple
Pashupatinath Temple, with its astonishing architectural beauty, stands as a symbol of faith, religion, culture and tradition. Regarded as the most sacred temple of Hindu Lord Shiva in the world, Pashupatinath Temple's existence dates back to 400 A.D. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to this temple, that is also known as 'The Temple of Living Beings'.
Location 5 km north-east of Kathmandu
Category UNESCO listed World Cultural Heritage Site
Era Prior to 400 A.D
Unique Features » Only four priests, appointed by the King, can touch the idol of Lord Shiva.
» The priests are always from south India.
» It is believed that this tradition have been started by Sage Shankaracharaya in 6th century.
What to See
» Gold-painted images of guardian deities
» Chaturmukha (four-faced statue)
» Chadeshvar, an inscribed Licchavi linga from the 7th century
» Brahma Temple
» Dharmashila, a stone where sacred oaths are taken
» Arya Ghat
» Gauri Ghat (holy bath)
» Pandra Shivalaya (15 shrines)
» Gorakhnath and Vishwarup Temples
» Guhyeshwari (Guhjeshwari) Temple
» Kirateshwar Mahadeva Mandir and Surya Ghat
» The two level roofs of the temple are embellished with gold and the four main doors are adorned with silver.
» The temple is famous for its awe-inspiring and astounding pagoda architecture.
» The western door has a statue of a large Bull, Nandi, is ornamented in gold. This black stone idol, about 6 ft in height and circumference, adds to the beauty and charisma of the temple.
» The present architectural nature of Pashupatinath temple came into existence as a result of renovation by Queen Gangadevi during the reign of Shivasimha Malla (1578-1620 AD).
There are many legends describing as to how the temple of Lord Pashupatinath came to existence here. Some of them are narrated below:-
The Cow Legend
Legend says that Lord Shiva once took the form of an antelope and sported unkown in the forest on Bagmati river's east bank. The gods later caught up with him, and grabbing him by the horn, forced him to resume his divine form. The broken horn was worshipped as a linga but overtime it was buried and lost. Centuries later an astonished herdsmen found one of his cows showering the earth with milk. Digging deep at the site, he discovered the divine linga of Pashupatinath.
The Linchchhavi Legend
According to Gopalraj Vamsavali, the oldest ever chronicle in Nepal, this temple was built by Supus Padeva, a Linchchhavi King, who according to the stone inscription erected by Jayadeva 11 in the courtyard of Pashupatinath in 753 AD, happened to be the ruler 39 generations before Manadeva (464-505 AD).
The Devalaya Legend
Another chronicle states that Pashupatinath Temple was in the form of Linga shaped Devalaya before Supus Padeva constructed a five storey temple of Pashupatinath in this place. As the time passed, the need for reparing and renovating this temple arose. It is learnt that this temple was reconsturcted by a mediaeval King named Shivadeva (1099-1126 AD). It was renovated by Ananta Malla adding a roof to it.
» Pashupati area is regarded as one of the most important places of pilgrimages for the followers of Hinduism. Thousands of devotees from within and outside the country come to pay homage to Pashupatinath every day. And on special occasions like Ekadasi, Sankranti, Mahashivratri, Teej Akshaya, Rakshabandhan, Grahana (eclipse), Poornima (Full moon day) the whole atmosphere turns festive and mirthful as people congregate here in a far greater number.
» During the Shivaratri (also spelled Shivratri) festival Pashupatinath temple is lit with ghee lamps throughout the night and the temple remains open all night. Thousands of devotees take ritual baths in the Bagmati river on the day of the festival and observe a fast for the whole day. Hundreds of sadhus (sages) from different parts of Nepal and India come here on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.
Auspicious Days to Visit
In August, during the Teej festival, thousands of women visit the temple to bathe in the holy waters of the Bagmati River. Because this ritual is meant to bring a long and happy marriage, many women dress in red saris, which are traditionally worn for wedding ceremonies. Full moon and New moon days are also considered auspicious to visit the temple.
Good to know
According to a legend recorded in local texts, especially the Nepalamahatmya and the Himavatkhanda, the Hindu Lord Shiva once fled from the other gods in Varanasi to Mrigasthali, the forest on the opposite bank of the Bagmati River from the temple. There, in the form of a gazelle, he slept with his consort Parvati. When the gods discovered him there and tried to bring him back to Varanasi, he leapt across the river to the opposite bank, where one of his horns broke into four pieces. After this, Shiva became manifest as Pashupati (Lord of Animals) in a four-face (chaturmukha) linga.
How to Reach
» There are regular bus services from Kathmandu (from Ratna Park or City Bus Station) to Patan,. It takes approximately 45 minutes to reach Goshala, the stop for Pashupatinath.
» Battery-operated Safaa tempos depart from near the Ratna Park office in Kathmandu and drops the pilgrims at Ring Road, west of Pashupatinath. Thereafter, a tempo going to Chabahil or Bodhnath can be hired.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara – style temples grouped around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming valley as it highlights the ancient of the kings perched on top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in very place – struts, lintels, tympanums, gateways and windows – all seem to form a well orchestrated symphony.
The main items of interest in the Durbar Square are:-
The Lion Gate:
Dating as far back as AD 1696 this gate is guarded on either side by huge statues of lions. Alongside, there are two stone images of (the dreadful aspect of Shiva) and Ugrachandi (the consort of the Shiva in her fearful manifestation).
The Golden Gate:
The Golden Gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the goddess Kali and Garuda (the mythical man – bird) and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is embellished with mythical creatures of marvelous intricacy. In the words of Percy Brown, and eminent English are critic and historian, the Golden Gate is the most lovely pieces of are in the whole Kingdom; it is places like a jewel, flashing innumerable facets in the handsome setting of its erected by King Ranjit Mala and is the entrance of the main courtyard of the palaces of Fifty – five windows.
The Palace Of fifty – five Windows: This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yakshay Malla in AD 1427 and was subsequently remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony with fifty-five Windows, considered a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.
The Art Gallery: The Art Gallery contains ancient paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods and descriptions. This gallery is open everyday except Tuesday.
The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla: This statue shows king Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is set on a column facing the palace. This is considered the most magnificent statue amongh the many statues in the squares.
Patan Durbar Square
The Ancient Square
Patan Durbar Square complex, situated in the center of Patan city, also known as Lalitpur, houses the residence of the former Patan royal family. Patan Square and its surroundings are good specimen of ancient Newari architecture. There are three main courtyards in the palace: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Mul Chowk, the oldest one, is at the centre of Patan square.
Several multi-sized and multi-styled temples occupy the western part of the complex. Main among these are Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple and the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna.
Location Kathmandu Valley
Importance UNESCO world heritage site
UNESCO Category cultural
Major Attractions » Krishna temple with 21 golden pinnacles
» Tusahity royal bath
This is the most famous and one of the largest courtyards among three main chowks. Bidya Temple is located at the center of the courtyard and the Taleju temples stand around the courtyard.
Sundari Chowk is to the south of the Mul Chowk with its sunken tank known as Tusha Hiti Mul Chowk & Taleju Temple.
Keshav Narayan Chowk
Keshav Narayan Chowk is towards the northern part. Dominating Degutale temple is next to it. It is the site of the earliest Malla palace in Patan. The Chowk sits on the older foundations of a Buddhist monastery.
Places To Visit
This temple of red stone, dedicated to Hindu Lord Krishna was erected in the 17th century. The temple is considered to be the first one to be constructed in Shikara architecture. Thanks to this attribute, it holds a commanding position in the durbar square. The elegant shikhara-style temple is ranked as one of the gems of Durbar Square. The temple is compared with sacred Mount Meru, which is abode of the god Shiva according to Hindu scriptures.
Buddhist temple Mahaboudha, which is made of clay bricks, lies to the east of the Durbar Square. Hundereds of Buddha images are engraved in the bricks. The temple is known for its fine terra cota work.
The five-storied pagoda-style Lord Siva temple was constructed by King Jayasthiti Malla. Inside the temple is a natural spring whose source, is said to be the famous glacial lake of Gosainkunda. The golden work was added later in 1422 A.D. One the festival of Janai Purnima, ritual bathing takes place and a fair is also held.
Jagat narayan Temple
Jagatnarayan temple is a tall shikhara style temple devoted to Lord Vishnu. Red bricks are used for the construction of the temple. The temple also holds a fine metal statue of Garuda, Ganesh and Hanuman, all related to Hindu religion and mythology.
Rudra Varna Mahavihar
This Buddhist monastery holds amazing collection of images and idols in metal, stone and wood. Legend holds that the Kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the people can be seen here even today.
The Ashokan Stupas
Indian Emperor Ashoka visited Nepal in 250 B.C and constructed four ancient stupas at the four corners of Patan. The four stupas are located in Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ebahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively.
The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square also surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples. The square is presently known as Hanuman Dhoka, a name derived from the statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, near the entrance of the palace. The preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. Even though the present palaces and temples have undergone repeated and extensive renovations and nothing physical remains from that period, names like Gunapo and Gupo, which are the names referred to the palaces in the square in early scriptures, imply that the palaces were built by Gunakamadev, a king ruling late in the tenth century. When Kathmandu City became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484-1520) the palaces in the square became the royal palaces for its Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, he also favored the Kathmandu Durbar Square for his palace. Other subsequent Shah kings continued to rule from the square until 1896 when they moved to the Narayan Hiti Palace. However, the square is still the center of important royal events like the coronation of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah in 1975 and King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah in 2001.
Though there are not any written archives stating the history of the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the construction of the palace in the square is credited to Sankharadev (1069-1083). As the first king of the independent Kathmandu City, Ratna Malla is said to have built a Taleju temple at the Northern side of the palace in 1501. For this to be true then the temple would have had to have been built in the vihara style as part of the palace premise surrounding the Mul Chok courtyard for no evidence of a separate structure that would match this temple can be found within the square.
The construction of the Karnel Chok is also not clearly stated in any historical inscriptions although it is probably the oldest among all the courtyards in the square. A Bhagavati Temple, originally known as a Narayan Temple, rises above the mansions surrounding it and was added during the time of Jagajaya Malla in the early eighteenth century. The Narayan idol within the temple was stolen so Prithvi Narayan Shah replaced it with an image of Bhagavati, completely transforming the name of the temple.
The oldest temples in the square are those built by Mahendra Malla (1560-1574). They are the temples of Jagannath, Kotilingeswara Mahadev, Mahendreswara, and the Taleju Temple. This three-roofed Taleju Temple was established in 1564, in a typical Newari architectural style and is elevated on platforms that form a pyramid-like structure. It is said that Mahendra Malla, when he was residing in Bhaktapur, was highly devoted to the Taleju Temple there; the Goddess being pleased with his devotion gave him a vision asking him to build a temple for her in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Then with a help of a hermit, he designed the temple to give it its present form and the Goddess entered the temple in the form of a bee.
His successors Sadasiva (1575-1581), his son, Shiva Simha (1578-1619), and his grandson, Laksminar Simha (1619-1641), do not seem to have made any major additions to the square. During this period of three generations the only constructions to have occurred were the establishment of Degutale Temple dedicated to Goddess Mother Taleju by Shiva Simha and some enhancement in the royal palace by Laksminar Simha.
It was in the time of Pratap Malla, son of Laksminar Simha, that the square was extensively developed. He was an intellectual, a pious devotee, and he was especially interested in arts. He called himself a Kavindra, king of poets, and boasted that he was learned in fifteen different languages. A passionate builder, following his coronation as a king, he immediately began enlargements to his royal palace, and rebuilt some old temples and constructed new temples, shrines and stupas around his kingdom.
During the construction of his palace, he added a small entrance in the traditional, low and narrow Newari style. The door was elaborately decorated with carvings and paintings of deities and auspicious sings and was later transferred to the entrance of Mohan Chok. In front of the entrance he placed the statue of Hanuman thinking that Hanuman would strengthen his army and protect his home. The entrance leads to Nasal Chok, the courtyard where most royal events such as coronation, performances, and yagyas, holy fire rituals, take place. It was named after Nasadya, the God of Dance, and during the time of Pratap Malla the sacred mask dance dramas performed in Nasal Chok were widely famed. In one of these dramas, it is said that Pratap Malla himself played the role of Lord Vishnu and that the spirit of the Lord remained in the king's body even after the play. After consulting his Tantric leaders, he ordered a stone image of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Nara Simha, the half lion and half human form, and then transferred the spirit into the stone. This fine image of Nara Simha made in 1673 still stands in the Nasal Chok. In 1650, he commissioned for the construction of Mohan Chok in the palace. This chok remained the royal residential courtyard for many years and is believed to store a great amount of treasure under its surface. Pratap Malla also built Sundari Chok about this time. He placed a slab engraved with lines in fifteen languages and proclaimed that he who can understand the inscription would produce the flow of milk instead of water from Tutedhara, a fountain set in the outer walls of Mohan Chok. However elaborate his constructions may have been, they were not simply intended to emphasize his luxuries but also his and the importance of others' devotion towards deities. He made extensive donations to temples and had the older ones renovated. Next to the palace, he built a Krishna temple, the Vamsagopala, in an octagonal shape in 1649. He dedicated this temple to his two Indian wives, Rupamati and Rajamati, as both had died during the year it was built. In Mohan Chok, he erected a three roofed Agamachem temple and a unique temple with five superimposing roofs. After completely restoring the Mul Chok, he also donated to the adjoining Taleju Temple. To the main temple of Taleju, he donated metal doors in 1670. He rebuilt the Degutale Temple built by his grandfather, Siva Simha, and the Taleju Temple in the palace square. As a substitute to the Indreswara Mahadeva Temple in the distant village of Panauti he built a Shiva temple, Indrapura, near his palace in the square. He carved hymns on the walls of the Jagannath Temple as prayers to Taleju in the form of Kali.
At the Southern end of the square, near the Kasthamandapa, which was the main city crossroads for early traders, he built another pavilion named Kavindrapura, the mansion of the king of poets. In this mansion he set an idol of dancing Shiva, Nasadyo, which today is highly worshipped by dancers in the Valley.
In the process of beautifying his palace, he added fountains, ponds, and baths. In Sundari Chok, he established a low bath with a golden fountain. He also built a small pond, the Naga Pokhari, in the palace adorned with Nagakastha, a wooden serpent, which is said he had ordered stolen from the royal pond in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. He also restored the Licchavi stone sculptures such as the Jalasayana Narayana, the Kaliyadamana, and the Kala Bhairav. An idol of Jalasayana Narayana was placed in a newly created pond in the Bhandarkhal garden in the Eastern wing of the palace. As a substitute to the idol of Jalasayana Narayana in Buddhanilkantha, he channeled water from Buddhanilkantha to the pond in Bhandarkhal due bestow authenticity. The Kalyadana, a manifestation of Lord Krishna destroying Kaliya, a water serpent, is placed in Kalindi Chok, which is adjacent to the Mohan Chok. The approximately ten feet high image of terrifyingly portrayed Kal Bhairav is placed near the Jagannath Temple. This image is the focus of worship in the chok especially during Durga Puja.
With the death of Pratap Malla in 1674, the overall emphasis on the importance of the square also came to a halt. His successors retained relatively insignificant power and the prevailing ministers took control of most of the royal rule. The ministers encountered little influence under these kings and, increasingly, interest of the arts and additions to the square was lost on them. They focused less on culture than Pratap Malla during the three decades that followed his death, steering the city and country more towards the arenas of politics and power, with only a few minor constructions made in the square. These projects included Parthivendra Malla building a temple referred to as Trailokya Mohan or Dasavatara, dedicated to Lord Vishnu in 1679. A large statue of Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu, was added in front of it a decade later. Parthivendra Malla also added a pillar with image of his family in front of the Taleju Temple.
Around 1692, Radhilasmi, the widowed queen of Pratap Malla, erected the tall temples of Shiva known as Maju Deval near the Garuda image in the square. This temple stands on nine stepped platforms and is one of the tallest buildings in the square. Then her son, Bhupalendra Malla, took the throne and banished the widowed queen to the hills. His death came early at the age of twenty one and his widowed queen, Bhuvanalaksmi, built a temple in the square known as Kageswara Mahadev. The temple was built in the Newari style and acted as a substitute for worship of a distant temple in the hills. After the earthquake in 1934, the temple was restored with a dome roof, which was alien to the Newari architecture.
Jayaprakash Malla, the last Malla king to rule Kathmandu, built a temple for Kumari, Durga in her virginal state. The temple was named Kumari Bahal and was structured like a typical Newari vihara. In his house resides the Kumari, an immature girl who is revered as the living goddess. He also made a chariot for Kumari and in the courtyard had detailed terra cotta tiles of that time laid down.
During the Shah dynasty that followed, the Kathmandu Durbar Square saw a number of changes. Two of the most unique temples in the square were built during this time. One is the Nautale, a nine storied building known as Vasantapur Durbar. It has four roofs and stands at the end of Nasal Chok at the East side of the palace. It is said that this building was set as a pleasure house. The lower three stories were made in the Newari farmhouse style. The upper floors have Newari style windows, sanjhya and tikijhya, and some of them are slightly projected from the wall. The other temple is annexed to the Vasantapur Durbar and has four-stories. This building was initially known as Vilasamandira, or Lohom Chok, but is now commonly known as Basantapur or Tejarat Chok. The lower floors of the Basantapur Chok display extensive woodcarvings and the roofs are made in popular the Mughal style. Archives state that Prthivi Narayan Shah built these two buildings in 1770.
Rana Bahadur Shah was enthroned at the age of two. Bahadur Shah, the second son of Prithivi Narayan Shah, ruled as a regent for his young nephew Rana Bahadur Shah for a close to a decade from 1785 to 1794 and built a temple of Shiva Parvati in the square. This one roofed temple is designed in the Newari style and is remarkably similar to previous temples built by the Mallas. It is rectangular in shape, and enshrines the Navadurga, a group of goddesses, on the ground floor. It has a wooden image of Shiva and Parvati at the window of the upper floor, looking out at the passersby in the square. Another significant donation made during the time of Rana Bahadur Shah is the metal-plated head of Swet Bhairav near the Degutale Temple. It was donated during the festival of Indra Jatra in 1795, and continues to play a major role during the festival every year. This approximately twelve feet high face of Bhairav is concealed behind a latticed wooden screen for the rest of the year. The following this donation Rana Bahadur donated a huge bronze bell as an offering to the Goddess Taleju. Together with the beating of the huge drums donated by his son Girvan Yudha, the bell was rung every day during the daily ritual worship to the goddess. Later these instruments were also used as an alarm system. However, after the death of his beloved third wife Kanimati Devi due to smallpox, Rana Bahadur Shah turned mad with grief and had many images of gods and goddesses smashed including the Taleju statue and bell, and Sitala, the goddess of smallpox.
In 1908, a palace, Gaddi Durbar, was built using European architectural designs. The Rana Prime Ministers who had taken over the power but not the throne of the country from the Shahs Kings from 1846 to 1951 were highly influenced by European styles. The Gaddi Durbar is covered in white plaster, has Greek columns and adjoins a large audience hall, all foreign features to Nepali architecture. The balconies of this durbar were reserved for the royal family during festivals to view the square below.
Time and again the temples and the palaces in the square have gone through reconstruction after being damaged by natural causes or neglect. Presently there are less than ten quadrangles in the square. The temples are being preserved as national heritage sites and the palace is being used as a museum. Only a few parts of the palace are open for visitors and the Taleju Temples are only open for people of Hindu and Buddhist faith.
Some of the parts of the square like the Hatti Chok near the Kumari Bahal in the Southern section of the square were removed during restoration after the devastating earthquake in 1934. While building the New Road, the Southeastern part of the palace was cleared away, leaving only fragments in places as reminders of their past. Though decreased from its original size and attractiveness from its earlier seventeenth century architecture, the Kathmandu Durbar Square still displays an ancient surrounding that spans abound five acres of land. It has palaces, temples, quadrangles, courtyards, ponds, and images that were brought together over three centuries of the Malla, the Shah, and the Rana dynasties.