Guhyeshwari Temple is an important pilgrimage destination for the Hindus as well as the Buddhists. Located around one kilometer east of the main Pashupatinath Temple, it is one of the most important temples within the Pashupatinath area. Recognized as a Shakti (power) Peetha, it is considered as a symbol of power. It is believed that a body part of Sati Devi (wife of Lord Shiva) fell after her death at the very place where the temple is now located. This temple was built by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century.
Pashupatinath and Guhyeshwari are beautiful representations of the Shiva and Shakti unity. Located at the banks of River Bagmati, the temple portrays the female side of the divine. Guhyeshwari is also known for its Tantrik rituals (esoteric tradition of Hinduism). It is believed that people who want to gain strength visit this temple to worship Mother Goddess.
The pagoda-style temple has a distinct interior. Instead of a standing figure of the Goddess, it has a flat figure parallel to the ground that is worshipped by bowing down. Next to the divine figure is a pond, the Bhairav Kunda. Devotees put their hand inside the pond and whatever they get is considered holy and is accepted as a blessing from the divine.
The Newar community performs various Puja at Guhyeshwari Temple. Newari Bhoj (feast) is also held at the temple during festivals. Newar Bajracharya Buddhists worship Guhyeshwari as Vajrayogini. This temple has great value to Hindus as well as the Buddhists. During the first 10 days of Dashain (Navaratri), the main festival of the Hindus, devotees from all over Kathmandu come to worship Goddess Guhyeshwari. A lot of importance is placed in visiting this temple during this time. Statues of different forms of Durga (Hindu Goddess) are placed around Guhyeshwari Temple during this time.
While visiting these temples, the Guhyeshwari Temple is visited before the main Pashupatinath Temple. This tradition is still followed by members of the earlier Royal family. The Guhyeshwari Temple is worshipped first and then other temples are visited. It is because of the belief of worshipping Shakti before Shiva.
Guhyeshwari Yatra is a festival, which is a tour that starts from Guhyeshwari following Pashupatinath Temple and ends at Hanuman Dhoka, Basantapur. This tradition has been prevalent since a long time.
Surrounded by the vast forest and different monuments, Guhyeshwari Temple holds many myths. The surrounding of this holy temple is peaceful yet powerful. The aura you get while visiting here is strong and vibrant. People come here with hope and dedication towards the divine. Devotees surrender their problems and feel hopeful.