Pashupatinath is seen as one of the most significant temples of Lord Shiva in the world. Located on the banks of Bagmati river, on the outskirts of Kathmanthu, this temple has been on the list of UNESCO’s World Hertitage Sites since 1979. Many devotees from India and across the world flock to this temple to seek blessings.
According to a legend, the temple was built on the site where Shiva lost one of his antlers, while he was in the guise of a deer. While Lord Shiva was enjoying the scenic beauty of the place in guise of a deer, other Gods decided to take him back to his duties. Since Lord Lord Shiva resisted to this, they had to use force due to which Shiva lost one of his antlers. The lost antler later became the first lingam worshipped by Hinduists in Pashupatinath. Post this, Shiva became manifest as Pashupati (Lord of Animals) in a four-face linga. The Pashupati Nath linga has four faces which represent the four directions.
The Dakshin or the South face of Lord Pashupatinath is called Aghor.
The Purva or East face is known as Tatpurush
The Uttar or North face is called Bamdev
The Paschim or West face is known as Saddojat.
Each face has hands holding Rudraskha mala in the right hand and a Kamandalu in the other. There is also a fifth face which is invisible. It is known as Ishan and this face is situated at 90 degrees above all the four faces.
An interesting tidbit about this temple is that only Indian priests from South India are appointed and this tradition was started by the Malla kings of Kathmandu in the 17th century. The priests are called Bhattas and the chief priest is called Mool Bhatt or Raval.
Another interesting fact is that the temple is visited by many elderly followers of Hinduism as they want to spend their last several weeks of their lives there and to finally meet death, be cremated on the banks of the river and travel their last journey with the waters of the sacred river Bagmati, which later meets the holy river Ganges. It is believed that those who take their last breath in Pashupatinath Temple are reborn as a human, no matter what misconduct they did to worsen their karma. The priests and astrologers at the temple also predict the exact day of their death.
It is also said that if a childless couple perform puja at this temple, they get blessed with a child.