Plan to project Pashupatinath power planet-wide

Gopikrishna Dhungana

Gopikrishna Dhungana

Plan to project Pashupatinath power planet-wide

The main objective of the master plan is to protect and manage the archeological and cultural heritage sites in the temple area

The government has prepared a second master plan that aims to highlight the international significance of Pashupatinath Temple. While the temple is primarily associated with the Hindu religion, the government aims to create a welcoming environment for people of all faiths to visit and experience the temple’s rich tangible and intangible assets.

Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), an autonomous body formed in 1988, has been overseeing the task of protecting, managing and developing the tangible and intangible heritage of the temple area. Last week, PADT approved the second master plan, which focuses on promoting the international significance of the most revered temple in the country.

Ramkumar Phuyal, a member of the National Planning Commission (NPC), says the second master plan for the Pashupatinath temple area is a national pride project. He believes the Pashupatinath temple area has the potential to gain an international renown due to its rich heritage.

To promote the temple on the international stage, the PADT is undertaking the first-ever excavation of seven important sites in the temple area. These sites include Pashupatinath, Kailash, Bhashmeshwar Ghat, Navagraha, Karmuka Suvarnapuri, and Devpattan, and places with references to the Gopal dynasty and Kirant period.

The Pashupati Area Conservation and Management Master Plan, which was prepared two years ago but not approved at the time, has now been revised and completed by a nine-member technical committee consisting of experts such as Chandramani Adhikari and Damodar Gautam, among others. The plan has been approved by the PADT board of directors.

The master plan states that historical and cultural heritages in the Pashupatinath temple area will be protected and managed.

Culture experts say Pashupatinath temple is located in the ancient settlement known as Devpattan, and it reflects the architecture of the Lichchhavi era. The temple area is also considered an archeological site and an open museum. The master plan will protect over three dozen Lichchhavi-era inscriptions discovered in the area.

PADT Member-Secretary Milan Kumar Thapa says the implementation of the master plan will transform the entire Pashupatinath area. The master plan, he says, prioritizes the study, research, exploration, and excavation of seven key areas and references, including Pashupatinath and Kailash, with the assistance and coordination of the Department of Archeology.

The main objective of the master plan is to protect and manage the archeological and cultural heritage sites in the Pashupatinath area, including Devpattan, various ghats, sacred caves, religious river, forests, and the local flora and fauna.

The government is preparing to invest Rs 1.3bn in the first five years to implement the master plan. The plan is to spend Rs 300-350 million annually thereafter. This does not include regular development expenses of the PADT.

Pashupatinath is renowned for its distinctive art and architecture. As the most important of the 12 Jyotirlingas, or Maha Jyotirlinga, it is considered a highly sacred site by Hindus the world over. Hindus believe that a pilgrimage is not complete unless one visits the Pashupatinath temple.

Cultural expert Bhim Nepal notes that the various forms of art and architecture at Pashupatinath reflect different periods in Nepal’s history, and they must be conserved.

The master plan also aims at protecting and managing the Guthi, a committee that has been preserving the tangible and intangible heritage of the Pashupatinath area since the Lichchhavi period.

Nepal, who is also a former director general of the National Archives, says there is an international significance of conserving and managing Pashupatinath as one of the oldest recognized sites in Kathmandu Valley. He adds the references to Pashupati in the context of Nepal in the Himavat Khanda, an ancient scripture, further highlighting the importance of Pashupatinath.

The master plan also seeks to revitalize the fairs and festivals that are integral to the Pashupatinath area’s intangible culture and heritage. Some of these fairs have disappeared, while others are at risk of disappearing. The master plan aims to make fairs such as the Akashbhairav Jatra, Bachhaleshwari Jatra, Bajreshwari Jatra, Sri Jayavageshwari Jatra, Ropai Jatra, Khadga Jatra, Gaijatra, Shiva-Parvati Jatra, Shri Krishna Jatra, Indra Jatra, Ganesh Jatra, Guheshwari Jatra, and Madhavnarayan Jatra more managed.


Sitaram Risel, deputy director of the PADT, adds major festivals that take place at the temple, such as Mahashivaratri, Bala Chaturdashi, Dhanurmas, Navratri, Dashain, Teej and Chhayan Darshan, will also be promoted.


Suresh Adhikari, secretary of the Ministry of Culture, says that the master plan will be sent to the National Planning Commission, as it is a national pride project. The budget for the plan will be included in the multi-year system once the commission approves it. The Ministry of Finance will then allocate the budget accordingly.


Meanwhile, the PADT board of directors has decided to prohibit new construction, except when necessary, at the core Pashupatinath area.


Under the master plan, new structures would be allowed to be built only on the land next to the Tilganga Eye Hospital. The board has also incorporated plans to build a Sanskrit university, international research center, hospital, old age home, and a religious center on 534 ropani of land in Gothatar.

Pashupatinath attracts a large number of visitors, with numbers reaching as high as 700,000 on Maha Shivaratri, 400,000 on Teej, and around 200,000 on Bala Chaturdashi and Mondays of the Nepali month of Shravan (mid-July to mid-August). On other days, the visitor footfall is around 25,000.

What’s in the master plan?

The government has developed a master plan with seven strategies to make Pashupatinath a destination for all. These include strategies to promote Shaiva philosophy and eternal form and belief in religion, faith, sanctity, and spirituality; protect the cultural, archeological, and historical heritage of both tangible and intangible nature; develop Pashupatinath as an international pilgrimage site; provide human, social, and public welfare services; protect and promote natural resources and biological diversity; manage disaster risk in the Pashupatinath area; and organize, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the work in the area.

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