You know they say it’s where the words fail, Pashupatinath is exactly the place where you feel yourself speechless… Pashupatinath was more than a temple, it was like another world…
Pashupatinath Temple is the most important temple, which is located on River Bagmati, which is one of the important branches of the Ganges, in Nepal. It belongs to Hinduism. This temple, which is called “ Holy of the Holiness”, was devoted to Lord Shiva. It is considered “sacred” because having cremated here and throwing the ashes of a dead one in the Ganges make trip to heaven easier.
Pashupatinath is considered sacred not only by Hindus in Nepal but also by all Hindu world.
Pashupatinath was established on a square area and it had doors on its all four sides. The 4 doors symbolizes that the God can see everywhere. The other reason is to provide people enter and exit easily. There was a statue, which was deified by people, in the middle of the temple.
Only Hindus could enter into Pashupatinath Temple, the ones who are not Hindus can’t get on temple’s side. When we went there, it was quite crowded. There were many people praying and playing various musical instruments in front of the temple.
In Pashupatinath, one side of the bridge was moved off for high class while the other side was moved off for lower class. The part belongs to the high class was more colorful, moving and crowded. There were women wearing their red, yellow and pink saris. They were sitting on the steps across River Bagmati and doing their religious ritual.
The most spoken and the first things that come to mind were death and reborn…
The children were responsible for their families’ care until they die. It was a tradition. Family ties were very strong.
When a girl child got married, she moved to her husband’s family. But the boys were continuing to live with their families. Daughter-in-laws were also living with their husbands’ families.
In the family, the youngest boy was responsible for the mother while the eldest boy was responsible for the father. This rule didn’t change in their death rituals. When somebody die, the first thing to do is to call everybody who knew the deceased. Then, the dead body is being carried to the place where he/she is going to be cremated. The amount of sandalwood is defined by the weight of the deceased. Then, the body is being oiled with sandalwood oil and wrapped in cloth. Because colour white symbolizes purity, they prefer white cloth. But in some classes, the color of the cloth can be changed by preferance. There were 102 different classes in Nepal. So, the choices can be different from each other. White, yellow and orange were the most preferable colors. If the deceased is a mum, the youngest boy in the family carries out the cremation. If dad, the eldest boy does it. If there aren’t any boys in family, the closest man to the family does the process. The cremation costs between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepal rupis ($80-100).R3
Religious functionary in Hinduism is called Pandit. The cremation starts after Pandit’s prayings. When Pandit finishes his prayings, dead body is set on fire. After the body completely burns out, ashes are poured into river. The ashes aren’t taken to home in anyway.
After this process, the one who burned the deceased wears only white clothes for a year. The person shouldn’t talk to or touch to anybody until the 13th day of the death. He stays at home for 13 days and doesn’t get any food or drink from anybody. He can’t eat meat, smoke or drink.
On the 13th day after the cremation, the family gather and pray together. The men who are closer to the deceased cut their hairs and nails, and take a shower here. They used to take a shower in River Bagmati. But then the government made special shower places because it was not very hygenic. But there were stil some people doing it in the river.
If the deceased is a man, his wife comes to the temple everyday and presents the Gods flowers, food and especially rice. Besides that, wife of the deceased wears only white or light yellow for a year.
Across Pashupatinath Temple, there were many miniature temples which are the counterparts of the same temple. In the middle of those temples, there was Shiva’s lingam. That is the most central point that you could observe the environment in Pashupatinath.
In Hinduism, every God has tools for themselves. For example, Shiva’s is bull, Vishnu’s is Garuda. You could understand which temple was devoted to which God according to the tools in front of the temples.
There were many Sadus around Pashupatinath Temple. Sadus are actually hippies who are believe in Hinduism. Sadus cover their bodies with ashes. They colour their faces and eyes, and they never cut their hairs. They were the actual colours in here.