The two main religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism and very often worshipers from the two faiths intermingle at temples and shrines. This sort of interfaith is practiced throughout the country though really each person is worshiping his or her equivalent of the god to which the temple or shrine is dedicated. There are a few exceptions to this intermingling of believers though and the Guheswari Temple is one of them. The temple is strictly a Hindu temple and all non-Hindus – whether the person is Christian, Buddhist or from some other faith – are not allowed access to the temple courtyard let alone the temple itself.
The Guheswari Temple in Nepal is a very sacred temple which is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati. The name ‘Guheswari’ is sometimes also spelled ‘Guhyeshwari’ or ‘Guhjeshwari’. The temple has a strong sexual connotation that is not only linked to its fabled beginning but also to its name. According to legend the wife of Lord Shiva, Parvati, sacrificed her life by burning herself to death in her father’s ritual fire. Her distressed husband then chose to wonder the world, carrying the body of his dead wife as he did so. As he passed over the spot where the Guheswari Temple is located today it is said that her ‘yoni’, or female sex symbol, fell to the earth. In the 1653 King Pratap Malla saw fit to restore the magnificent Gushewari Temple. This temple represented the female force that Parvati was the very embodiment of.
The Guheswari Temple is located in Kathmandu not far from the Pashupatinath Temple. The actual temple does not house any images of the legendary goddess but there are a lot of other things here worth seeing. The building is ornate and beautiful and the worship of the people here is usually very sincere and touching. Many believe this to be the temple to go to in order to pray for marital fidelity and a lot of different Hindus will make the trip here to ensure that their marriages do not suffer.