Page:Picturesque Nepal.djvu/149

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87
THE HOLIEST TEMPLE OF NEPAL

kneeling bull (Nandi), executed in copper and heavily gilt. It is hardly necessary to add that the majority of devotees believe this huge animal is wrought in solid gold.

Such is the bright and barbaric aspect of Pashpatti—the holiest temple of Nepal—of such great sanctity that a pilgrimage to it is deemed an act of purer devotion than the observance of any similar rites prescribed by the Hindu religion. Its situation gives it a mystery which may account for some of this, as the gorge forming the background is a gloomy precipitous cutting through which the holy river silently and solemnly flows. Excavated in the face of the cliff high above the water, and reached only by some primitive means devised by the occupant, are several dark-looking cells in which certain fakirs are said to live and die—

"And next the shryne a pit then doth he grave,"

but it is a place of shadows, and the gay pageant below is commencing.

Quite early the edge of the water is taken up by small groups of picturesquely robed men