Photos: Kamal Subedi and Upendra Lamichhane /Republica
KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Hindu devotees across the country are observing their great festival of Mahashivaratri today.
The Hindus are thronging the nearby rivers, ponds and temples to worship Lord Shiva since early this morning. Lord Shiva was said to be born on the day of Shivaratri.
Shivaratri is one of the four nights known as Kaalratri, Moharatri, Sukharatri and Shivaratri.
Shivaratri, being observed today by the Hindus in various countries including Nepal and India, has been 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 get 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.
In Kathmandu, thousands of devotees from within and outside the country, predominantly from India, have thronged the Pashupatinath since early morning and queued up for hours for the darshan of Lord Shiva. Here are some photos taken on the Pashupatinath Temple premises on Friday.
Major highlights during Shivaratri celebration on Pashupatinath premises:
Awareness desk for coronavirus free water, meal, holy food (prasad) and tea by various religious groups and organizations attractive decoration using flowers along entry gates and exits and temple premises systematic lining help desk by Nepal Police, APF, Scouts and Red Cross Society