Pashupatinath: Nepal sets up panel to ease work



Pashupatinath: Nepal sets up panel to ease work Kathmandu: The government has set up a top panel to make the functioning of Nepal's world famous Pashupatinath Temple more transparent, following a Supreme Court directive to streamline the management of the 5th century Hindu shrine.

Nepal's Ministry of Culture has formed a 10-member committee, with its Secretary as member-secretary, to make suggestions for streamlining the functioning of the temple, including greater transparency in the management of its income.

The caretaker government's decision comes in the wake of a key Supreme Court directive to ensure transparency in the functioning of the temple, said myrepublica, the website of Republica newspaper on Tuesday.

The committee has been directed to make recommendations to ensure proper management of worship at the temple, income received from religious trusts (Guthis) and the salary as well as allowances of the head priest and other priests, the report said.

The committee has also been asked to make suggestions for developing necessary infrastructure and to highlight its historical importance.

The panel will also make recommendations for bringing necessary amendment to the rules governing the management of the temple.

The top panel includes Kedar Nath Acharya, Shree Hari Aryal, Sharad Kumar Bhattarai, Ram Prasad Dahal, Ananta Ram Bhattarai, Shiva Sharan Rajbhandari, Swami Ramananda Giri, Chetonath Gautam and Basanta Kumar Chaudhary as members.

The tempel had been 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.

Two priests -- Girish Bhatt and Raghavendra Bhatt belonging to Karnataka -- were severely thrashed and their clothes and sacred thread cut by dozens of Maoists in September 2008. The priests were badly injured in the attack, which had evoked concern and sharp reaction from the Indian government.

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.

The fifth century temple is also listed in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list.

PTI