Move to sell tickets for Pashupati temple challenged in SC

A move by management of Nepal's Pashupatinath Temple, which attracts a large number of Indians, to charge Rs 1,000 as entry fee for the Mahashivratri festival was today challenged in the Supreme Court here.

Bharat Jangam, filed a writ in the Supreme Court, protesting the decision by the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) that manages the temple's affairs to sell tickets for the Shivaratri festival which falls on March 2 when tens of thousands of visitors including those from India are expected to visit the temple.

The Trust has recently announced it would sell tickets, priced at Rs 1,000, for those desirous to pay money for easy access to the temple during the grand Hindu festival.

Jangam has sought the apex court's help to halt selling tickets for entrance to the fifth century Pashupatinath temple.

The move has also dragged into controversy two Indian joint venture banks, Nepal SBI and Everest Bank, which are chosen among the five banks for collecting money for worshipping at the temple through quick access.

Nepal SBI, has already come under controversy after the Patan Appellate Court asked the bank to submit the documents relating to the board of directors’ election last week in response to the case filed by ex-Chairman B K Shrestha for allegedly manipulating the election.

Another Everest Bank is the subsidiary of India's Punjab National Bank. These two banks were among the five banks chosen by the PADT to sell its tickets through their counters.
The PADT is planning to sell around 25,000 tickets to the domestic as well as international visitors for easy access to the temple.

Jangam claims that neither law allows nor tradition allows to sell tickets to the visitors for entrance into the Hindu temple. He also questioned about proper utilisation of the money raised through selling the ticket.

However, the temple authorities deny the charges saying that will utilise the money for charity purposes.

Jangam further argues that banks like Nepal SBI can sell the tickets through their branches outside Nepal which might result in to non-Hindus buying the tickets and getting entrance. The entrance into the Pashupatinath temple is exclusively for Hindus.