Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pashupatinath Temple - Nepal

The Pashupatinath Temple is is an interesting complex, a site which includes the holy shrine of Shiva and a crematoria by the Bagmati River.

After I paid to get in, I was approached by a young man who immediately took me in tow and led me down to the burning ghats by the river. However, I told him I wasn't interested in a tour, that I would rather wander around by myself. I read about a woman's visit to Nepal and she gave a guide $20 for leading her tour. That's half a month's salary in Nepal.

Having visited Varanasi in India, the burning ghats weren't shocking for me, but some people are not prepared to see bodies being prepped for burning. The bodies were all medium to well-done and, as in Varanasi, what remained after the big cook was tossed into the river. A few miners were digging through the river bed looking for gold.

You aren't supposed to take pictures of the religious ceremonies for the dead, but I did sneak in a few. There are also local men dressed up as siddhus who charge you for taking their picture, but they're not siddhus. You will see the ubiquitous cow wandering around at will on steps and walkways and throughout the temple complex.