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Nepal-s most important Hindu temple stands on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, on the eastern fringes of Kathmandu, not far from the Tribhuvan Airport. Pashupatinath is also one of the most important Shiva temples on the subcontinent and draws devotees and sadhus (wandering Hindu holy men) from all over India. Shiva is the destroyer of the Hindu pantheon and is best known in his terrible- forms, particularly in Nepal as the cruel and destructive Bhairab, but he also has peaceful incarnations including those of Mahadev and Pashupati, the lord of the beasts. As the shepherd of both animals and humana, Pashupati shows Shiva-s most pleasant and creative side. Pashupati is considered to have a special concern for Nepal and, accordingly he features in all official messages from the king. Before commencing an important journey, the king will always pays visit to Pashupatinath to seek the god-s blessing. Nepal-s Dalit (untouchable) community was only allowed access to the shrine in 2001. You can visit Pashupatinath as a half-day trip from central Kathmandu or en route to Bodhnath, as the two sites are an interesting short walk apart. Of all the valley-s entry fees Pashupatinath offers the least value, as many of the temple buildings are closed to non-Hindus. Non-Hindus are not allowed in the main temple so you-ll have to be satisfied with glimpses from the outside the compound. From the main western entrance you may catch a flash of the mighty golden backside of Nandi, Shiva-s bull. The temple dates from the 19th century but the bull is about 300 years old. The black, four headed image of the Pashupati inside the temple is said to be even older; an earlier image was destroyed by Mughal invaders on the 14th century.