“As long as the stars are burning, as long as your dreams are coming true, you better believe it” – Meatloaf.
Kathmandu was a holy place for sure. Something in the air told me that. I enjoyed a ram packed, action whacked brace of days here in Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu. It was actually a city that didn’t surprise me at all. I expected it to be all like this. Poky streets, friendly people, temples galore and a load of shops selling hiking gear. I was kind of ready for what this man could do, by the time, in 2023 when I finally backpacked in Kathmandu, Nepal. One of the main sights is this holy Hindu shrine complex known as The Pashupatinath Temple, which is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. So it was on my list of places to see and I organised a brilliant tour with Nepal Mountain Trekkers while based at the Hotel Green Horizon. On that tour I also visited The Boudhanath Stupa And Buddhist Shrine. Now, it was time to go Hindu. The Hindu Times. Away.
Hinduism has intertwined its way into my life at various points, from the glory days of Batu Caves in Malaysia, to Thommanom in Cambodia to Prambanan in Indonesia to numerous Hindu moments while backpacking in India. This is part of a Kathmandu World Heritage Site Tour.
Getting To The Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu
The Pashupatinath Temple, is located on the east of Kathmandu, around 20 – 30 minutes drive from the city centre. Most tourists will be based in the central part, or in the nearby city of Patan. I was staying at the Hotel Green Horizon in downtown Kathmandu and the journey out to the Pashupatinath Temple is very straightforward and obvious. Here’s the map of the route.
Tickets For The Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu
Although nothing is checked at the main entrance, you actually need a ticket to visit the Pashupatinath Temple, though things like this get a bit weird in Nepal. You don’t need it and it isn’t checked in the main entrance. The only time they ever checked it was going to the entrance to the Hindu Temple, which is forbidden anyway! Reluctantly, I bought the ticket, which was never checked. You walk into a small ticket office down the hill on the right to buy the ticket. It cost 1,000 Rupees, which is about $9 US Dollar, or £8 Northern Irish pounds. The lady working there was nice, her name was Lima.
Touring The Pashupatinath Temple Complex, Kathmandu
In terms of a tour, I had my guide Minh with me, which was great. He was able to walk me to all the important parts and explain to me about the history and significance of this place. The water is believed to be holy and the whole complex is a very holy and spiritual Hindu Shrine. We tour up and down and walk all around the complex. Views from the top part are particularly impressive and a little calming and sombre.
Murals At The Pashupatinath Temple Complex, Kathmandu
There are a few murals in the complex too.
Monkeys At The Pashupatinath Temple Complex, Kathmandu
Also be careful of the monkeys – it was something I totally expected by now – for some reason I saw monkeys at loads of Hindu Temples from Malaysia to Sri Lanka to Indonesia to India.
The Live Human Cremations At The Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu
This is probably not for the faint hearted. Bodies are burning all around you. Dead people are being lit. At first, we see a woman crying severely and it’s very very sad. It is clear her husband has just died. He has been wrapped up and is ready for burning. It’s clear what happens here and some of the facts are shocking. When someone dies, it is better to take them here quickly to perform the cremation, rather than linger. Also as soon as one body is burned, the workers removed the ashes and debris and get ready for the next one. It’s brutal.
Everyday is busy here – as soon as someone dies, you make the appointment for the cremation. It’s the holiest place in town to get cremated so demand is high. In my short time here, I reckon there were 5 different cremations. On one side of the bridge, there is space for 10 cremations, simultaneously. A slide by the river allows bodies to have holy river water splashed on them before they are burnt.
I hate the thought of death and it scares the living daylights out of me, yet I don’t have any issues seeing gory spots like this. It’s up there with Auschwitz, Stutthof, Rwandan Genocide Museum, Bosnian Genocide Museum, Saddam Hussein’s House Of Horrors and The Death Camps of Cambodia. Here’s a recap on those gory days.
- The 20 Grimmest Places I Visited
- Touring Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine
- Touring Chernobyl Town, Ukraine
- Touring Saddam Hussein’s House of Horrors, Iraq
- Backpacking to Agdam, Nagorno Karabakh
- Tour of German Concentration Camp Auschwitz I, Poland
- Tour of German Concentration Camp Birkenau, Poland
- Tour of German Concentration Camp Stutthof, Poland
- Genocide Museum in Yerevan, Armenia
- A Trip to Stalin’s Town, Gori, Georgia
- Killing Fields, Cambodia
- Hanoi Hilton/Hoa Lo Prison, Vietnam
- Backpacking in the Most Dangerous City in the World
- A Night in the Most Bombed Hotel in Europe
- Tuol Sleng Concentration Camp, Cambodia
- Post Office in Gdańsk, Poland where World War II began
- Westerplatte where World War II began
- Genocide Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia
- My Most Horrific Travel Moments
The Forbidden Temple At Pashupatinath Temple Complex, Kathmandu
At one point, we head back towards the main entrance which is actually split into two paths. The first path we took led down to the river. The other path leads to the main temple. But not for me, as I’m not a Hindu so it’s forbidden. This reminded me a bit of the time I got to the fork in the road in Saudi Arabia and left was Meccah for Muslims only, and we went right.
How to organise a tour to The Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal Mountain Trekkers:
- P.O. Box:19891, Pyramid Galli, JP Street, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
- +9779851276377, 977 01 5348594
- [email protected]
Here are some videos I made during my tour of The Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal: