24 January, 2021

Import Duty

Nepal's Maoists can snap the sacred threads bonding Pashupatinath temple and its Indian priests

Import Duty

Monument To A Syncretic Tradition

  • The Pashupatinath temple, whose origins date to the 5th century, is considered one of the holiest Shiva temples
  • A World Heritage site, the pagoda-style temple has a golden roof, silver doors, with a five-faced Shivalinga in its sanctum, symbolising Shiva as Lord of all Living Beings
  • The temple's head priests and his assistants have been recruited from south India, mainly from Karnataka's Sringeri Math, for at least 700 years
  • Nepal's Maoist-led government wants to end the tradition, have Nepalese priests


That the proposed visit of Rajiv Gandhi with wife Sonia, two decades ago, to Kathmandu's Pashupatinath Temple was shot down by its presiding priests is part of the ancient temple's modern lore. "They did not object to Rajiv," Narottam Vaidya, a former temple trustee, vividly recalls. "But they made it clear that they would close the gates if Sonia came." If tales like this, and the signs...


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