Unveiling a centuries-old shroud of secrecy, authorities at Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal’s most revered Hindu shrine, have started revealing its income from donations.
Details of donations made by devotees had remained a mystery to outsiders and used to be shared by priests and storekeepers at the Lord Shiva shrine visited by millions annually.
On Sunday, the first day when counting of donations and offerings for special prayers in the temple began, Pashupati Area Development Trust authorities collected NRs 185,000 (Rs 115,625). At this rate, the temple is expected to generate around NRs 40 million (Rs 25 million) every year. Significantly, collections see a surge on Saturdays, Mondays and important festivals.
“We have set an example by implementing this long-cherished plan. This will contribute greatly to overall development of the temple,” The Kathmandu Post quoted culture minister Gopal Kirati. He is of the view that the development at Pashupati will send a positive message to important temples in Nepal and abroad and make them disclose income generated from donations.
From now Bhattas and Bhandaris (priests and storekeepers) of the temple will get monthly salaries. Nearly NRs 20 (Rs12.5 million) will be spent on wages annually and rest used to develop the UNESCO world heritage site.
Located in Kathmandu on banks of the Bagmati, Pashupatinath is considered the holiest Lord Shiva temple. The temple believed to be around 1500 years old was in news in 2009 when the country’s Maoist government removed the chief priest from India and replaced him with Nepalis. The decision that overturned tradition and saw widespread resentment in India was later overturned by Nepal’s Supreme Court.