Nepal: Anti-corruption agency assumes control of Pashupatinath Temple; denies entry to worshippers

Pashupatinath Temple

Nepal’s Pashupatinath Temple Sealed Off as Anti-Corruption Agency Investigates Missing Gold

Pashupatinath Temple: A Sacred Hindu Shrine by the Bagmati River in Nepal

Pashupatinath Temple, known as श्री पशुपतिनाथ मन्दिर in Nepali, stands as a revered Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Pashupati. Situated in the enchanting city of Kathmandu, Nepal, it finds its home near the tranquil banks of the Bagmati River. Notably, this temple holds the distinction of being the largest temple in the world, making it a remarkable testament to ancient architectural marvels.

In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, Pashupatinath Temple was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1979. The temple complex itself is a sprawling and captivating blend of diverse structures, encompassing temples, ashrams, sacred images, and inscriptions that have been erected over the course of centuries along the revered banks of the Bagmati river. This magnificent precinct of the temple is one of the seven monument groups that have contributed to UNESCO’s prestigious recognition of the Kathmandu Valley. Spanning an impressive area of 246 hectares (2,460,000 m2), the complex boasts a staggering 518 mini-temples, along with a grand central pagoda house that serves as the focal point of devotion.

As a notable site among the Paadal Petra Sthalams found on the continent, the Pashupatinath Temple occupies a special place in Hindu spirituality, drawing devotees from far and wide to offer their prayers and seek blessings. Its serene location by the flowing Bagmati River adds an aura of tranquility, making it a spiritual haven for seekers of divine solace and enlightenment.

The renowned Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal was unexpectedly closed to devotees on Sunday (June 25) as the country’s anti-corruption body took charge of the premises to launch a probe into the alleged disappearance of 10 kg of gold from a 100 kg ornament.

Situated in Kathmandu, Pashupatinath Temple holds significant historical and religious importance as the oldest Hindu temple in the region.

Pashupatinath Temple

The controversy unfolded when the extravagant gold ornament, known as Jalhari, was unveiled during last year’s Maha Shivaratri festival and placed around the sacred Shiva Linga within the temple. Subsequently, concerns were raised in Parliament, prompting the government to direct the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to initiate an investigation into the reported missing gold.

As Nepal’s primary constitutional body dedicated to combating corruption, the CIAA assumed responsibility for the case.

The Pashupati Area Development Authority claimed that they had purchased 103 kg of gold for the creation of the Jalhari, but upon inspection, discovered that 10 kg was inexplicably absent from the ornament.

Ghanashyam Khatiwada, the executive director of the Pashupati Area Development Trust, informed the media that the anti-graft agency had temporarily seized the gold Jalhari from Pashupatinath to evaluate its quality and weight, in order to address concerns regarding the missing gold.

Amid the investigation, heightened security measures were implemented at the temple premises, with Nepal Army personnel and other security forces deployed to ensure the process remained undisturbed.

Since 3:30 pm, devotees have been strictly prohibited from entering the temple, and it is anticipated that the closure will endure until midnight as per informed sources.

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