The history of Pashupatinath

The beautiful valley of Kathmandu is home to several breathtaking temples and monuments and is very rightfully known as the City of Temples. The existence of the magnificent monuments has exalted the glory of Nepal. One such monument is the Pashupatinath Temple whose history dates back to centuries. The legends have laid down numerous stories behind how and when the beautiful temple came into existence. Being the biggest and the most visited temple by the devotees of Lord Shiva and otherwise, the curiosity of the devotees regarding its existence has outgrown over the years.

While there are several stories about how the temple came into existence, there is one amongst them that is widely believed. The story goes that once when Lord Shiva and Parvati came to the Kathmandu Valley, they rested by the banks of the Bagmati while they were on their journey. They were left stunned and absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the valley and the forests that surrounded it. The two then decided to change themselves into a deer and walked around the forest relishing in its beauty. Several places have been identified as the spots that the two passed by during their time as a deer. While Lord Shiva was enjoying his stay in the form of a deer, the rest of the Gods started to look for him. After going around looking for him all over, the Gods finally found him in the forests of Kathmandu and requested him to get back to his pavilion. Lord Shiva refused to go back with them but the Gods insisted. He decided to pick a fight with them and lost one of his antlers during the fight.

After several pleas, Lord Shiva agreed to go back but announced that since he had spent his time in the forest in the form of a deer for so long, he would now be known as, Pashupatinath, Lord of all Animals. The antler that fell in the forest turned into a lingam and it was said that whoever appeared before the lingam would not be reborn as an animal. Over the years, the lingam disappeared under the soil of the earth and was forgotten about.

It is said that eventually after about ten thousand years it was noticed that Kamadhenu, a wish-fulfilling cow had taken shelter in a cave on the Chandravan mountain. Kamadhenu would go down to the place where the lingam once existed and would pour milk on that very same spot every day. This led the people who noticed Kamadhenu wonder why the cow poured milk there every day. So, they removed the soil from that area and dug it out to find a beautiful shining lingam. After getting a good look at the lingam, the people suddenly disappeared into it and were said to be free of all their sins and rebirths.

The devotees then built a temple around the lingam which gave birth to the enormous monument which today is popularly known as the Pashupatinath Temple. Ever since it is believed that the devotees that visit the temple all their wishes would be fulfilled and that it would bring them closer to God.

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Written by Prajita Gupta

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