PADT bids farewell to sadhus at Pashupati

Kathmandu, February 15

Pashupati Area Development Trust and Guthi Sansthan today bid farewell to babas, who had arrived in Pashupatinath temple for Mahashivaratri festival from various parts of the country and India.

According to Guthi Sansthan officials, they bid farewell to 3,200 to 3,500 babas amidst a programme today. As per tradition, Guthi Sansthan provided all babas dakshina (monetary offering), along with prasad.

Babas had been living in ashrams in the Pashupati area for the past five days. Guthi Sansthan along with PADT provided food, shelter, firewood and blankets to sadhus during their stay for Mahashivaratri celebrations. Guthi Sansthan had allocated Rs 3,500,000 for food and lodging arrangements for  the babas.

Monetary offerings ranging from Rs 391 to Rs 1,791 was provided to babas, depending on their ranks.  Guthi Sansthan said it had allocated Rs 1,500,000 for Dakhsina for babas.

However, Guthi Sansthan officials didn’t give the exact amount spent for the farewell, saying it would take a few more days to collect the details.

Coordinator for Mahashivaratri celebrations from Guthi Sansthan Deepak Bahadur Pandey said, “We did not try to be strict while identifying the babas and sadhus. We provided the minimum dakshina to all poor and sickly people who were at the temple.”

Apart from Guthi Sansthan, PADT also provided money to babas. PADT Member Secretary Pradeep Dhakal said they had allocated Rs 500,000 as dakshina for the babas.

PADT joint-secretary Rewati Raman Adhikari said they had not ascertained the total number of babas who visited the temple for Mahashivaratri or the amount spent on them.

PADT has also not made public the amount collected from offerings made at Pashupatinath temple on the day of Mahashivaratri.

According to Guthi Sansthan Information Officer Saroj Thapaliya, babas are ranked into five grades — Lalmohariya, Mahantha or Mathadhis, Bhesdhari, Sanyasi and Digambara. The ranking of sadhus is recognised on the basis of the group they represent.

The PADT had declared Pashupati area marijuana-free zone on January 29, stating that it can also check and arrest babas if they are suspected of selling cannabis to visitors.

A petition was also filed at the Supreme Court demanding that Naga Babas (Naked babas) be banned from performing obscene acts on the temple’s premises.