Pashupatinath, meaning lord of all the living animal, is a highly regarded hindu pilgrimage site located in the heart of Kathmandu valley. Pashupatinath is located very close to the Tribhuvan international airport and 4.2 kilometers from the city center of Thamel.
It is believed that lord Shiva, destroyer and the protector of the world according to hindu mythology, once eloped from Banaras, India and hid in the jungle, where now is the complex of Pashupatinath. He disguised himself as an antelope and hid from all the gods and the problems of world. When the gods found his where about and came to get him, they had a big tussle. In the tussle Lord shivas horn was broken into 4 pieces and the very four pieces now represent the 4 sides of Shiva linga in the main temple.
The complex of pashupatinath is located on the banks of Bagmati river. This complex houses around 518 temples and monuments and covers 264 hectare of land. The main priests of the temple are Bhattas from India and it is an age old custom that only the Bhattas would conduct the main worship where as there are Bhandari priests who take care of the temple and help Bhattas with daily rituals.
Pashupatinath is as well where Hindus once deceased are cremated according to Hindu rituals. They are burned down to ashes and the ashes are submitted in the Bagmati river. Furthermore, one of the attractions include the evening arati on the banks of the Bagmati. Arati is a ritual performed by the priest by lighting wick soaked in ghee, burning incents, singing Bhanjans and ringing the bells.
Pilgrims and tourists flock down year around but the busiest is in the month of Shrawan which is July August and on the day of Maha Shivaratri. There are several hotels immediately outside the Pashupatinath complex. There are luxurious as well as budget hotels which serve descent rooms as well as food. This holy site which is as well recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site is a must visit sight in Kathmandu and Nepal.