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Courting couples to be barred from Pashupatinath

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - 23:30

Kathmandu: Concerned over "amorous
behaviour" on its sacred premises, authorities managing
Nepal`s world famous Pashupatinath Temple are planning to
introduce fines to deter courting couples.

"We are banning amorous behaviour by couples in the
holy Pashupatinath temple area," said Sushil K Nahata, chief
of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) that manages
the affairs of the temple.

"We are introducing a new regulation in a week to
penalize love birds who indulged in unruly activities in this
holy place," he said.

Located on the banks of the Bagmati river,
Pashupatinath is regarded as the most sacred temple of Shiva
(Pashupati) and the oldest Hindu shrine in Nepal. It is also
listed in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list.

"This is not a botanical garden or public park where
love birds are allowed to do whatever they like," he said.

Nahata said courting couples are seen in and around
temple area, including the Shlesmantak forest, "kissing,
hugging and embracing".

"Now we are introducing Rs. 200 to Rs 500 fine on
those violating the rules in Pashupati," Nahata said.

He said with the introduction of new rules, drug users
and hooligans will also be discouraged in the area.

Earlier this month, the government set up a top panel
to make the functioning of Pashupatinath Temple more
transparent, following a Supreme Court directive to streamline
the management of the Hindu shrine.

The temple had been at the centre of a row when the
Prachanda-led Maoist coalition government in 2008 sacked the
chief priest and other Brahmins from South India, and
appointed Nepalese priests to replace them.

It had triggered widespread protests across the
country as it was a break with centuries-old tradition where
Brahmins from South India have led the worship at one of the
holiest Hindu shrine.

Later, Nepal`s Supreme Court had stayed the government
regulation aimed at ending the 300-year old monopoly of Indian
priests at the famed Pashupatinath.


First Published: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - 23:30

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