The exact date of Pashupatinath’s construction is unknown. Despite this fact, the Pashupatinath is considered the oldest Hindu temple of Kathmandu.
The earliest evidence of the temple’s existence dates back to 400 A.D. The current main temple of Pashupatinath complex was built in the end of the 17th century to replace the previous one, destroyed by termites.
Countless smaller temples were constructed around the main temple on both banks of Bagmati River during the last few centuries.
There are numerous legends, connected with the construction of the temple. The most famous one claims, that the temple was built on the site where Shiva lost one of his antlers, while he was in the guise of a deer. He and his wife arrived to the bank of Bagmati and amazed by the beauty of the site decided to change themselves into deers and walk in the surrounding forests.
After a while gods and humans decided to return them to their duties, but Shiva rejected to return and they had to use force. In the fight Shiva lost one of his antlers, which later became the first lingam worshipped by Hinduists in Pashupatinath. Later this relic was lost, and according to another legend, found again by a herdsman, whose cow showed the location of lingam by irrigating the place it was buried with her milk.
Pashupatinah is a place where century-old Hindu rituals are practiced in their astonishing initial form, giving a chance to the visitors to feel the unique spirit of Hindu traditions of life, death and reincarnation.