KATHMANDU, February 21: Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees from across the country and outside the country have thronged Pashupatinath temple today to celebrate the Mahashivaratri.
According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust, the gates were opened at 3 am today while four queues have been arranged for the pilgrims to get into the main temple. The Trust is welcoming the arrival of over one million devotees this year including over 5,000 sadhus from around the country and various parts of India.
Over 6,000 security personnel from Nepal Police and Nepal Army have been deployed in the temple premises to prevent any untoward incident, and Emergency health camps, security posts, information centers and temporary toilets have also been set up for the visiting devotees.
Likewise, the Movement of vehicles has not been allowed in Chabahil-Mitra Park-Gaushala-Battisputali Ratopul-Gaushala and Gaurighat road sections to ease the movement of people, according to the Metropolitan Traffic Division.
People also visit other temples in different parts of the country to worship Lord Shiva today.
Shivaratri, thought to be the day Lord Shiva was born, is one of the four nights called Kaalratri, Moharatri, Sukharatri and Shivaratri, and is regarded as one of the greatest festivals in the holy scriptures of the Hindus—the Puranas.
This day is celebrated on the lunar month of Falgun and is believed to instill faith in those destined to live in trouble.
The Skanda Purana, another holy text of the Hindus, also mentions the significance of the Shivaratri.
The religious belief is that if one offers milk, Dhaturo (a kind of intoxicating plant) and ‘Belpatra’ to Lord Shiva and observes night-long fasting, he/she will receive heavenly blessings.
The festival which is regarded as a national festival consists of ‘warming’ Lord Shiva in the belief that the Lord also feels cold on this day and people organize bonfires at public squares, houses, temples and shrines and perform prayers to please Lord Shiva.
Four kinds of worships including Mahadip, Akhandadip, Lakshya Batti and Dipotsav as well as the offering of Belpatra will be performed in four phases tonight, while classical dances are performed at the Kailashkut and Kirateswor Music Ashram.