Shiva Temples around world

Gosaikunda in Nepal
Gosaikunda is a glacier lake in Langtang. It is 2 to 3 days trekking from Dhunche. According to Puran lake Gosaikunda was created by Lord Shiva by his Trident. He had to drink water after intake of Halahal or Kalkut poison. He has to digest the Kalkut poison which was the product obtained from Samundramanthan by Gods and Ashurs. The most auspicious day for the Pilgrimage is Full moon day (Shrawan Purnima) in July. Many pilgrims from Nepal and India take a bath in the Lake.

You can drive from Kathmandu to Dhunche about 8 hours and trek for about 4 Days to reach Gosaikunda. It is best done after some acclimatizing in Langtang or Helambu. From either Dhunche or Syabru, the trails generally ascend across forests. On the way you will also come across a monastery and a cheese factory. Above here, the trail climbs through tall fir stands before emerging above the tree line for increasingly panoramic views of the high peaks and finally entering the barren upper reaches of the Trishuli river, where glacial moraines and rockslides have left a string of half a dozen lakes (kund).

Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet
The holy Mount Kailash Mansarovar is situated in the western Tibetan Plateau in the northernmost region of the Himalayas. Also referred to as Mount Meru and Kang Rinpoche, or snow jewel, Mount Kailash is a 6714m high peak is considered as the sacred place for Buddhist, Hindu, Janis and Bonpos for thousands of years. . Hindus perform a 'parikrama' or walk around the 32-mile circumference of Mount Kailash, an act that is believed to wipe away all sins. It is believed that the Lord Shiva had dwelled in meditation on its top. The world-famous and holy Mount Kailash & Manas Lake have been, the source of inspiration for many religions and beliefs. Despite many difficulties and long distances, people are keenb to go there at least once in their lives. Continued from centuries, this pilgrimage had been stopped from 1959 to 1980, and when it restarted in 1981 it was welcomed everywhere. Hundreds of Indians thus got the opportunity to go through this region. Situated on the other side of Himalayas of Uttarakhand, Kailash & Mansarovar are the most pious and most beautiful shrines.

Also, from religious point of view, these are highly regarded. Darshan and 'parikrama' of Kailash and Mansarovar is considered as uncommonly pious by the believers of four religions Bonpa, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain.
Bonpa, the ancient Tibetans, see a nine story 'swastik' in it and consider it an abode of Damchauk and Dorge Phangmo. Hindus worship it as the abode of Shiva and Parvati. Buddhists believe it to be the home of Buddha and Manipadam and Jains worship it as the place of "Nirwan of First Tirthankar".

Near Mansarovar there is a beautiful lake called Rakash Tal - or Ravehahalad. In the north of these two lakes is Mt. Kailash and its series (22028 ft./6675 mts.) in the south Mount Gurala is situated. From this region four big rivers of north India originate' Karnalies, Satluj, Brahamputra and Sindh. 865 kms from Delhi, Mt. . Kailash and Mansarovar in Tibet, are always very near to the hearts of Indians. Due to Mansarovar, Uttarakhand is also termed as Manas-Khand.

It, is believed that Mansarovar is originated from the forehead of Brahma and was discovered by the king Gurlamandhata, after whom the highest Mt. Gurula (Mamonani) is named. Thus the unique mountain and lake are attached to our history, culture and mythology. In the parikrama of Kailash (Kongrigpoke) one has to walk 55 kms. and its highest point is Dolmapass at 19000 ft. Mansarovar is situated at the height of 14930 ft./4530 mt. with a circumference of 90 kin., depth of 90 mt. and total area of about 320 sq. km. Mansarovar is attached to Rakashtal with a natural canal at a height of 14900 ft./4515mt. Circumference of Rakashtal is 122 kms. River Satluj originates from the north west corner of Rakashtal.

In winter all mountains and river lakes are frozen and covered with snow, so the time of yatra is from May to September. Indian pilgrims visit from June to September in 16 batches. (30-40 in every batch). Foreign Ministry of Indian Govt. advertises this pilgrimage. Selected people go through medical tests and other formalities before they do yatra in their batches. The management of this yatra is done by Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd. in Indian region and Tibetan tourism agency in Tibet respectively.

It has been pilgrimage site for centuries that people walking overland for weeks or months. Fee they are really approaching the centre of universe. Mt Kailash is also reversed as the source of four of the great rivers of Asia, fueled by the water of the nearby holy lake Manasarovar also known as Tso Rinpoche or 'precious lake' in Tibetan, Bathing in the freezing cold water of the lake which is said to contain miraculous powers is considered to be of massive spiritual benefit. According to Hindu legend, the lake was first created in the mind of the Lord Brahma. Hence, in Sanskrit it is called Manasarovar, which is a combination of the words Manas (mind) and Sarovar (lake),many pilgrims visit the place with full of devotion.

Katasraj temple in Pakistan
Katasraj Mandir is a Hindu mandir situated in Katas village in the Chakwal district of Punjab in Pakistan. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple has existed since the days of Mahabharata and the Pandava brothers spent a substantial part of their exile at the site. The Pakistan Government is considering nominating the temple complex for World Heritage Site status. It also proposes to spend about Rs 20 million in three phases for the restoration of the complex.

Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka
Koneswaram Temple is an important Hindu centre of worship located on Swami Rock by the shores of Trincomalee, a town in the north of Sri Lanka. The temple dates back to 300 CE and at the pinnacle of its glory was recognized as one of the most magnificent temples in the whole of Asia. Koneswaram Temple has experienced a turbulent history, having been alternately destroyed, rebuilt and expanded by successive rulers and devotees. The Koneswaram Temple has the distinction of being one of the five age-old temples of Sri Lanka devoted to the Hindu god Shiva and accordingly is revered by Saivites of the area.
The temple is shrouded in legend, and has been associated with the Hindu epic Ramayana and its protagonist the heroic god-king Rama. Ancient records suggest that the temple was maintained by the Chola and Pandyan Tamil kings in the ancient period while in the 17th century the Tamil kings of the medieval era were also involved in the expansion of the temple.
The earliest record of a place of worship in the environs of the present temple comes from the Mahavamsa, the chronicle of Sri Lanka's ancient history. It states that Mahasena, a Buddhist zealot ruler who ruled the kingdom of Anuradhapura demolished a temple devoted to a Hindu deity and constructed a Buddhist temple on the site. The early Hindu temple is recorded as having contained a lingam of Shiva.
Chronicles of the Tamil tradition suggests that an early ruler of the Chola dynasty known as Kankan comprehensively rebuilt and renovated the temple and expended vast sums of wealth on its construction.

In the 17th century the Portuguese colonizers destroyed the temple, after which Hindus placed its statues and idols in another temple nearby. In the year 1952 the Koneswaram Temple was recreated on its initial site by the Hindus of the area.

Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal
The Pashupatinath temple in the east of Kathmandu has been a religious site for both Hindus and Buddhists for maybe over 2000 years. Daily thousends of pilgrims visit Pashupatinath, with a top day on Maha Shivaratri when hunderds of thousends of pilgrims come to pay their tribute to Shiva. The Pashupatinath temple complex is one of the Unesco world heritage sites of the Kathmandu Valley.
Pashupatinath is the biggest Shiva temple complex in the world and consist of 492 temples and more than one thousend Shiva lingams. The Pashupatinath temple is a pagoda style temple with a golden roof and a massif silver door. Inside is the holy Shiva lingam of Pashupatinath the lord of the Animals an avatar of Shiva. The Shiva Lingam is four faced for ordinary people but it is said it has an invisible fifth face.
As per tradition the priests of the Pashupatinath temple come from the south of India. A long tradition which is said to be installed by Sage Sankaracharya. The priest come everyday to the temple between 8 and 9 am to lead the offerings and bath the Shiva Lingam which is also done around 5 pm.

Besides the Shivalingam there is a shrine for Unmatta Bhairava which is one of the eight forms of Bhairava the angry form of Shiva. 
The temple streches up to the Bagmati river where you find the "Arya Ghat". The most importent cremation ground of the Kathmandu Valley. All importent people and others who can afford it are cremated here. Different castes have different places at the ghat to burn their death. 

Pashupatinath temple has covered a huge area and you can wander there for hours and hours enjoying the environment over there. But inside the main temple of Pashupatinath, only Hindus are allowed to enter. If you say you are Hindu then you would be allowed to enter. In the past there are several cases, where people have disguised and went inside. But don't worry, you can watch everything that happens inside the temple from the other side of Bagmati river. There are several other temples over there. The most popular and well known are Kirateshwor Mahadev and Guheswori temple. THere are other hundreds of temples over there. To name some of few are Gorakhnath Temple, Ram Mandir, etc.

History
Pashupati means "Lord of the animals" and it one form of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva has 1008 name and forms and as Pashupati he watches over the souls of men and is worshipped as the patron deity of Nepal. Though there is no proof when the temple originated the oldest evidence is data 477 A.D but the temple may have stood here nearly 1000 years before that.

One of the legend about Lord Shiva is that once Shiva took the form of an antelope being weary of throngs of worshipping demigods and wandered in the Mrigasthali Forest on the Bagmati river's east bank. The Gods were looking for him and finally found him as an antelope and they grabbed him by horn and forced him to come back to his divine form. The broken horn was worshipped as a linga, and it was buried and lost. Centuries later an astonished farmer found him cows showering the milk on the earth. Digging deep in the site, the farmer is believed to uncover the divine linga of Pashupati.

Lord Pashupati is invoked on official treaties, pledges, political speeches and appears on coins and royal coat of arms. Pashupatinath is one of the great holy Shiva places of the Indian Subcontinent, and no pilgrimage is complete without a visit to it.

Getting there and around
Situated on the banks of river Bagmati, This temple is just 5 km away from the center of Kathmandu towards north-eastern side. There is a regular bus service to and from from this place. One can also stop by the place while coming from or going to Boudhanath, which is more than half day's affair from Kathmandu. One can also walk down to Boudhanath as it just half an hour walk from here and vice-a-versa.

Prambanan Shiva Temple in Central Java , Indonesia
Prambanan is the largest Hindu Temple in whole Indonesia. This temple, locally referred to as Loro Jonggrang Temple, is one of the many magnificent temples in the area. These temples are the remains of the powerful civilizations that lived on the Java Island. Prambanan is known for its sheer size and beauty and is a must see for anyone visiting the region as it has a lot to offer. Prambanan is dominated by three larger structures. The three main temples are called Trimurti – “the three forms”. It is a Hindu concept which includes three gods; Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Keeper and Shiva the Destroyer.

Temple of Shiva
The largest temple in the center is dedicated to Shiva. It consists of five chambers; one large and four smaller ones. Inside the large main chamber stands a large three meters statue depicting Shiva and in the smaller chambers statues of Hindu gods related to Shiva. The northern chamber holds a statue of Durga; the slender Virgin. She is one of the main characters in the folktale “Loro Jonggrang” that has given the temple its local name. In the folktale she refuses to become married and as a penalty she gets turned into stone.

Temple of Vishnu
The north temple is dedicated to Vishnu the Keeper. This temple consists of one main chamber which houses a statue of Vishnu. On the balustrades in Vishnu temple, visitors can find series of magnificent bas-relief depicting Krishnayana; the story of lord Krishna.

Temple of Brahma
The south temple is dedicated to Brahma the Creator and is also made up of one large main chamber with a statue of Brahma. The bas-reliefs along the balustrades on the gallery around both Brahma and Shiva temple depict the Hindu legend of Ramayana. They illustrate how Rama, is abducted by Ravana. The monkey king Hanuman brings his army to help Rama and rescue Sita.

Animal shrines
In front of each of the three main temples stands a smaller shrine. These shrines are dedicated to the mounts of the respective gods; the bull Nandi for Shiva, the swan Hamsa for Brahma and the eagle Garuda for Vishnu. In front of the temple dedicated to Shiva’s mount stands statue of Nandi the bull. Visitors can also see a statue of Chandrathe god of moon and Surya the god of sun, both standing in carriages drawn by horses. The other shrines probably also had a statue of their respective mount, but were most likely stolen during the Dutch occupancy.

Surrounding temples
In the main temple area, visitors can also find some smaller shrines surrounding the main temples. The purposes of these shrines still rather unknown, but they were likely places of worship for the Brahmins and their disciples. Prambanan Temple Compound consists of in total 237 temples, either big or small and in different conditions. Surrounding the main temple area are 224 small identical temples, though many of them lie in ruins. These are called “Candi Perwara” – the Guardian Temples. Some believe that the temples represent the Mataram caste system, as the temples are arranged in four rows, and that each row was designed to be used by one caste only. Others believe they were quite simply a place for meditation. Surrounding the whole Prambanan Temple Compound is the outer zone which is believed to have housed a park, living quarters and other supportive buildings. As these buildings are believed to have been built in organic material, nothing is left of them today.

The theatre
One thing to keep an extra eye on is the open air theatre, located just west of Prambanan temple, across the small river. The theatre has ballet performances of the great Hindu legend of Ramayana during some parts of the year. This act, performed during full moon, set against an illuminated Prambanan, is said to be quite spell-binding.

UNESCO site
Today, the Prambanan Temple Compound is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it has become one of Indonesia’s key tourist attractions and a major landmark in the area. Even so, Prambanan is often overshadowed by the nearby Borobudur. The reality is that most people find Prambanan just as awe inspiring as its bigger brother and I’m sure you will like it as well.

Prambanan location
Prambanan is located on Java, Indonesia. The temple is situated around 18 km east of Yogyakarta city, on the boundary between Yogyakarta and Central Java province. Prambanan is located in between the temple sites Kraton Ratu Boku and, Sewu Temple.
 
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