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PM Narendra Modi offers prayers at Kathmandu's Pashupatinath temple

India TV News Desk August 04, 2014 18:40 IST
India TV News Desk
Kathmandu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Nepal,  performed a half-an-hour special prayer at the 5th century Pashupatinath temple in Nepal on Monday.

Modi was at the temple of Lord Shiva for about 45 minutes on a day which is considered pious as it was a Monday that falls in the month of 'Shravan'.

The prime minister also made an offering of 2500 kilos of sandalwood. Nearly half kilo of sandalwood paste is used daily on the Shiva ‘linga' at the temple.

Considering steep price of the commodity, temple authorities had requested India to provide the sandalwood. Worth several crores of rupees the quantity would last 12-15 years.

Since it was a Monday on the auspicious month of Shrawan, thousands of devotees had thronged at the temple, which was decorated with flowers to welcome the Prime Minister.

The Hindu temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, a village 3 km northwest of Kathmandu.

It is dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals). It attracts thousands of pilgrims each year, mostly from India.

There are a lot of Indian pujaris at the temple.

There is a tradition of keeping four priests and one chief priest at the temple from among the Bramhins of south India for centuries.

According to legend, the temple was constructed by Pashupreksha of the Somadeva Dynasty in the 3rd century BC, but the first historical records date from the 13th century.

The ascetic Pashupata sect was likely related to its foundation.

Pashupati was a tutelary deity of the ancient rulers of the Kathmandu Valley; in 605 AD, Amshuvarman considered himself favored by his touching of the god's feet.

By the later Middle Ages, many imitations of the temple had been built, such as in Bhaktapur (1480), Lalitpur (1566) and Benares (early 19th century). The original temple was destroyed several times until it was given its present form under King Bhupalendra Malla in 1697.

According to a legend recorded in local texts, especially the Nepalamahatmya and the Himavatkhanda, the Hindu god 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. 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.