Festivals and Rituals at the Pasupatinatha Temple of Deopatan
South Asia Research
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Siva in Trouble
The town of Deopatan, three kilometers northeast of Kathmandu, is above all famous for its main sanctum, the temple of Pa'supati, the 'lord of the animals,' a form of 'Siva and the tutelary deity of the kings of Nepal since ancient times. By its name alone, the temple attracts thousands of pilgrims each year and has made itself known far beyond the Kathamndu Valley. However, for the dominant Newar population the town is by no means merely the seat of 'Siva or Pa'supati. It is also a city of wild goddesses and other deities. Due to this tension between two strands of Hinduism - the pure, vegetarian Smarta Hinduism and the Newar Hinduism which implies alcohol and blood sacrifices - 'Siva/Pa'supati has more than once been in trouble, as the many festivals and rituals descripbed and analyzed in this book reveal. Deopatan is a contested field. Different deities, agents social groups, ritual specialists, and institutions are constantly seeking dominance, challenging and even fighting each other, thus contributing to social and political dynamics and tensions that are indeed distinct in South Asia. It is these aspects on which Axel Michaels concentrates in this book.
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