5 Significant Shiva Temples Outside India

As per legends and mythology Mahashivratri is a celebration of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Actually, Mahashivratri is a day of tremendous spiritual possibilities. The energies and vibes are very strong and positive. Mahashivratri is a huge festival where most Hindus visit Shiva temples everywhere. India has some legendary and fascinating Shiva temples but there are some significant Shiva temples outside India. On this special day of Mahashivratri let’s have a look at 5 important international Shiva temples.

Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal

The first name which comes to our mind when we think of Shiva temples outside India is the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. This temple is one of the 7 monuments groups which make up Kathmandu’s UNESO World Heritage site. The Pashupati Temple Complex is a sprawling site, on 250 hectares of land, with more than 500 mini-temples besides the main Pagoda House with the Shivalingam (Shiva Shrine). The temple has a typical Nepalese Pagoda style architecture and has a gold pinnacle and the four main doors have sheets of silver on them. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Nepal, the date of origin of the shrine is unknown. The temple has its mention in writings from the 4th Century A.D.

Katas Raj Temples in Pakistan

Did you know that there is a Shiva temple in Pakistan which has been mentioned in the Puranas and the Mahabharata? Katas Raj Temples is a complex of several Hindu temples around a pond which is extremely significant. This pond is called Katakshkund, meaning ‘spring of tearful eyes’. According to the Puranas this pond is said to have been created by the teardrops of Lord Shiva while wandering inconsolably after the death of his wife, Sati. According to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas spent some of their time of exile in this region and had an encounter with the Yaksha at this pond. The temple complex is 2 hours’ drive from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Located in the region of Punjab Province of Pakistan, this is one of the ancient Shiva temples outside India, mentioned in travelogues by Travellers of 3rd, 4th and 7th Century A.D. A British Engineer had confirmed that the shrines date back to 66 B.C. Besides being important for the Hindus, there are remains of Buddhist Stupas and it is said that Guru Govind Singh had visited this pond and temple complex. In spite of tensions, every year some Indians are granted VISA by the Pakistan Government every year during Mahashivratri.

Munneswaram Temple, Sri Lanka

Legends say that Srilanka’s Munneswaram Temple exists from the time of the Ramayana. The central temple is that of Lord Shiva and there is a Kali temple and 4 other temples around it, of which one is a Buddhist temple. It takes a little more than 2 hours to reach the temple by road from Colombo. There are some more popular Shiva temples in Sri Lanka, however, the Munneswaram Temple is the oldest and the most popular one. It is really one of the most popular ancient Shiva temples outside India.

Prambanan Temple Compounds, Indonesia

Prambanan Temple Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of 240 temples; both Hindu and Buddhist temples. They were built in the 8th Century A.D. There are 4 other temple complexes and they lie within Prambanan Archaeological Park. A total of 500 temples exist; even though some of them are ruins the remains of the original structures are protected and restored. We are immediately reminded of Indonesian Shiva temples while speaking of Shiva temples outside India.

Mukti Gupteswar Temple, Australia

One of the Shiva temples outside India which must be mentioned is the Mukti Gupteshwar Temple in Australia’s New South Wales. The temple is not a very old one but the Shiva shrine is. The king of Nepal Maharaja Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev gifted the idol of Gupteshwar to the Australians. The temple is the one and the only man-made cave temple in the world. The Gupteshwar shrine is a Jyotirlinga and is often referred to as the 13th one. It is the main shrine and there are replicas of the main 12 Jyotirlingas. Besides these, there are several other man made lingams or shrines in the cave, a total of 1228 replicas of Shiva temples. The cave has a deep vault with water from 81 holy rivers of the world and 2 million handwritten notes from visitors. The notes read, ‘Om Namah Shivay’.

Wishing All a Grand Shivratri

The above mentioned Shiva temples outside India are all grand and historic. Lord Shiva’s grace and grandeur is beyond limits. May we all have an auspicious Mahashivratri and receive his grace. Om Namoh Shivay!!

Image Sources: Wikipedia


Dipannita Bhattacherya

3 thoughts on “5 Significant Shiva Temples Outside India”

  1. Santanu Bhattacharjee

    সত্যিই এই অপূর্ব সুন্দর লেখার মাধ্যমে অনেক কিছু জানলাম। Very informative and also excellent pictures.

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