Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal reopens after 9 months hiatus

Nepal’s Pashupatinath which remained closed for public darshan since the coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced in March this year, reopened on Wednesday morning, the Pashupati Area Development Trust confirmed.

According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the shrine will open for six hours (6 am to 12 noon) daily for devotees. However, devotees will be expected to follow all the hygiene and safety protocols to contain the spread of COVID-19. Everyone visiting the temple premises will have to wear a mask compulsorily.

On Wednesday morning, priests performed atonement worship and sought forgiveness as it opened after a long hiatus.

Pradip Dhakal, member secretary of the PADT, said that devotees will be allowed to offer prayers from Thursday morning. On Wednesday morning, he said that temple opened with all health safety protocols in place.

“We were compelled to restrict ourselves during the crisis of the pandemic. We will gradually start operating the special puja, singing of hymns and other rituals that have been suspended. All safety protocols will be followed,” he said.

This ancient shrine (believed to have been built in the fifth century) is dedicated to the Pashupatinath form of Lord Shiva, which literally means the Lord of animals and all living beings. Located on the banks of the sacred river Bagmati, the temple complex is one of Nepal’s iconic heritage sites.

Pashupatinath Temple is situated at a distance of about 5 kilometers north-east of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. This temple complex finds a mention in UNESCO World Heritage Sites and attracts pilgrims from all over the world.