Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu - 1863
Photograph of the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu; part of a collection of albumen prints taken by Clarence Comyn Taylor between 1863-65, which constitute the earliest photographs of Nepal. Taylor, a soldier in the East India Company's army, was badly wounded in the Indian Uprising of 1857 and turned to Political Service, arriving in Kathmandu in 1863 as Assistant Resident. At this time the British had started a project to document the people and monuments of the Indian sub-continent using photography. Taylor fortuitously was a capable photographer and took images of Nepal for the Government of India. This image is described by Taylor in his List of pictures as, 'No IV. The Temple of Mahadeo on the banks of the Bagurutty River at Pushputtinath, considered to be the most sacred Temple in Nepal and which is annually visited by thousands of pilgrims from the plains'. Pashupatinath is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage in Nepal, a temple complex on the banks of the Bagmati river, dedicated to Shiva and named after his epithet as Lord of Animals. An inscription dates the temple to the 5th century during the Licchavi period, but the temple has been restored and rebuilt many times since. The main image worshipped here is a four-headed linga form of Shiva (who is also called Mahadeo). The temple is square in plan and its roof rises in two receding tiers, supported by wooden struts, and covered with gilt copper sheets. A flight of steps leads up from the river to the temple, which is surrounded with various buildings which are mostly dharamsalas or pilgrims' resthouses. The Bagmati at Pashupatinath is lined with ghats or stepped embankments where Hindus are cremated.
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