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Long ago I have heard the story about Pashupatinath temple located in nepal, it was related to Mahabharata, when the Pandavas were on their way to Heaven, they wanted to find lord Shiva and lord shiva was in form of bull in group of bulls, and when Pandavas detected which bull is shiva than Bhima tried to catch shiva and shiva went inside the soil (ground) and his head came out from nepal (which is now called the Pashupatinath temple), is this story right or just a tale? want to know more about it.

EDIT : Also tell why the Pandavas were in search of Lord Shiva? And why lord Shiva was hiding from them?

  • Once a demon Arunasur had tortures animals and ill-treats Kamdhenu,while challenging Pashupatinath. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati had performed sadhana for the welfare of the universe. But somebody had interrupted their sadhana. Then Shiva and Parvati had rescued the aanimals and Kamdhenu. – Samrat May 16 '15 at 17:11
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The Pasupatinath ShivaLinga is described in Koti Rudra Samhita of Shiva Purana in chapter 11 'Pasupatinath Linga':

नयपालाख्यां तु प्रसिद्धायां महितले ।
लिङ्ग पशुपतिशाख्यं सर्वकामफलप्रदम् ।।
शिरोभागस्वरुपेण शिवलिङ्गं तदस्ति हि ।
तत्कथां वर्णयिष्यामि केदारेश्वरवर्णने ।।

A Linga named Pasupati became established in Nepal and it is able to fulfill all desires. The Linga as the form of the head and it's story will be narrated with the greatness of Kedareshwara.

The story hinted above is in Koti Rudra Samhita chapter 19 where Kedareshwara Linga is described:

तद्दिनं हि समारभ्य केदारेश्वर एव च ।
पूजितो येन भक्त्या वै दुःख स्वपनेऽपि दुर्लभम् ।।
यो वै हि पाण्डवान्दृष्ट्वा माहिषं रुपमास्थित ।
मायामास्थाय तत्रैव पालायनपरोऽभवत् ।।
धृतश्च पाण्डवैस्तत्र ह्यवाङ्मुखतया स्थित ।
पुच्छं चैव धृतं तैस्तु प्रर्थितश्च पुनः पुनः ।।
तद्रुपेण स्थितस्तत्र भक्तवत्सलनामभाक् ।
नयपाले शिरोभागो गतस्द्रुपतः स्थितः ।।

Whosever adored Kedara Shiva in the past they never came across any suffering or grief even in the dreams. He is the one, who on seeing Pandavas assumed the form of a he-buffalo, using his magical powers and tried to run away. But when he was caught by Pandavas by the tail, he stood there lowering his neck. They held his tail, who prayed him again and again. Then Shiva who is well disposed towards his devotees, established himself there in the same form. The portion of head appeared in Nepal.

One of the special feature of Pasupatinath ShivaLinga is that five heads are formed in the linga itself. The east facing Tatpurusha, the north facing Ardhanarishwara (Vamadeva), the west facing Sadyojata and the South facing Aghora. The upward facing  Ishana is Nirakara (formless) whereas other faces are present in Linga itself.

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I found the answer on wikipedia link about panch kedar

The Pandavas defeated and killed their cousins — the Kauravas in the epic Kurukshetra war. They wished to atone for the sins of committing fratricide (gotra hatya) and Brāhmanahatya (killing of Brahmins — the priest class) during the war. Thus, they handed over the reigns of their kingdom to their kin and left in search of the god Shiva and to seek his blessings. First, they went to the holy city of Varanasi (Kashi), believed to Shiva's favourite city and famous for its Shiva temple. But, Shiva wanted to avoid them as he was deeply incensed by the death and dishonesty at the Kurukshetra war and was, therefore, insensitive to Pandavas' prayers. Therefore, he assumed the form of a bull (Nandi) and hid in the Garhwal region.

Not finding Shiva in Varanasi, the Pandavas went to Garhwal Himalayas. Bhima, the second of the five Pandava brothers, then standing astride two mountains started to look for Shiva. He saw a bull grazing near Guptakashi (“hidden Kashi” — the name derived from the hiding act of Shiva). Bhima immediately recognized the bull to be Shiva. Bhima caught hold of the bull by its tail and hind legs. But the bull-formed Shiva disappeared into the ground to later reappear in parts, with the hump raising in Kedarnath, the arms appearing in Tunganath, the nabhi (navel) and stomach surfacing in Madhyamaheshwar, the face showing up at Rudranath and the hair and the head appearing in Kalpeshwar. The Pandavas pleased with this reappearance in five different forms, built temples at the five places for venerating and worshipping Shiva. The Pandavas were thus freed from their sins. It is also believed that the fore portions of Shiva appeared at Pashupatinath, Kathmandu — the capital of Nepal.

A variant of the tale credits Bhima of not only catching the bull, but also stopping it from disappearing. Consequently, the bull was torn asunder into five parts and appeared at five locations in the Kedar Khand of Garhwal region of the Himalayas.[7] After building the Panch Kedar temples, the Pandavas mediated at Kedarnath for salvation, performed yagna (fire sacrifice) and then through the heavenly path called the Mahapanth (also called Swargarohini), attained heaven or salvation.

After completing the pilgrimage of Lord Shiva's darshan at the Panch Kedar temples, it is an unwritten religious rite to visit Lord Vishnu at the Badrinath Temple, as a final affirmatory proof by the devotee that he has sought blessings of Lord Shiva.

further reading can be found here : details about panch kedar

a little different version I found on other site says,

When the Pandavs went to the Himalayas, Shiv avoided them because they had killed so many people in the war. To avoid them He ran in the form of a Bull, and Bhim chased him. On being followed, the colossal Bull dived into the ground to resurface at other places. He left his hump at Kedarnath. But when he resurfaced, it seems that he had assumed human form and emerged at different areas in these mountains. His Face resurfaced at Rudranath. His Arms resurfaced at Tungnath. His Naval (torso, I guess) emerged at Madha Maheshwar. His Hair emerged at Kalpeshwar.

further reading here

  • I will wait for sometime for other answers and than mark this as correct... – Nishant Solanki Apr 27 '15 at 10:15
  • This provides answer with more reliable scriptural source than wikipedia. You may mark that as accepted. – Pandya Jan 17 '17 at 5:17
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashupatinath_Temple

Myths are much about Pashupatinath. But, there is truth in Lord Shiva, in his presence and there is much peace inside the temple. Experience is incredible and amazing during the Aarati in the evenings.

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