The Pashupatinath Temple complex on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River is a sprawling site enclosing some 281 hectares. Within its premises are hundreds of other temples and shrines dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses. Just across the river, and up on the hill going up the main stairway, is the Gorakhnath complex. You will find that this site is a favored habitat of numerous monkeys. The Gorakhnath Temple is built in the Shikhara style with a trident on top, and it is surrounded by other temples, sculptures, statues of Shiva and Nandi, and many Shiva lingas. It is located close to the 17th century Guheswari Temple dedicated to Kali.
Gorakhnath holds a special place in the religious history of Nepal due to the fact that he was the patron deity of the once ruling Shah kings. He is also worshipped here as an avatar of Shiva. History has it that he was an 11th to 12th century Nath yogi who was originally a Vajrayana Buddhist. He later became a follower of Shaivism. A disciple of Matsyendranath, he is said to be the ‘father’ of Hatha Yoga and a number of tantric texts including ‘Avadhuta Gita’ are attributed to him. He is believed to have attained samadhi at Poyur (Girnar) in India.
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