Pashupatinath Temple © JoonYoung Kim
One of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world, Pashupatinath is one of the major temples devoted to Shiva (Pashupatinath) on the Indian subcontinent, and attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims each year. Shiva is the patron deity of Nepal. The Temple of Pashupatinath stands on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, a tributary of the Ganges, and is renowned for its beautiful architecture. It is surrounded by numerous other temples, shrines, statues and pagodas, forming a large temple complex which can take some time to explore. The complex is home to Kathmandu's funeral ghats, a series of cremation platforms spread along the river where the bodies of Hindus are burnt and the ashes scattered into the holy river. Tourists should be respectful when witnessing these cremation ceremonies and should be particularly cautious about taking photographs.
The complex swarms with Sadhus (holy Hindi ascetics) and Shiva devotees, meditating and praying on the steps throughout the temple. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pashupatinath is also one of the richest temples in Nepal, having received a great deal of wealth from kings and aristocrats in devotion to the god. The temple buildings are unfortunately closed to non-Hindu visitors, but the site can be enjoyed by all and it makes for a fascinating visit.
Address: Three miles (5km) east of Kathmandu, in Deopatan
Admission: NPR 1,000