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Menon visits Pashupatinath temple

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon today visited the renowned Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, weeks after Nepal's holiest shrine hit the headlines over the ruling Maoists' objection to the centuries-old tradition of Indian priests performing rituals there.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2009 01:19 IST

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon today visited the renowned Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, weeks after Nepal's holiest shrine hit the headlines over the ruling Maoists' objection to the centuries-old tradition of Indian priests performing rituals there.

Menon worshipped at the temple before his departure to New Delhi following a two-day visit to the Himalayan state during which he met Premier Prachanda and Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav.

However, the Foreign Secretary told reporters that he did not discuss the issue of the appointment of priests at the Pashupatinath temple with the Nepalese authorities.

"Officially, I didn't discuss the issue," he said.

His remarks follow the recent row in Nepal over the Pashupatinath temple, listed by the UNESCO as one of the cultural heritage sites in the world, after Maoist cadres stormed the shrine demanding appointment of local priests in place of Indians.

During his visit, Menon could not meet his counterpart Gyanchandra Acharya, who was in China.

"But I met him few days ago when I was here briefly while passing through (Kathmandu)," Menon said. "And I think we will be meeting again within a couple of weeks when we will fly to Colombo to attend the SAARC Standing Committee meeting."

"There is no great gap of communication, we talk to each other regularly," he said.