Nepal celebrates Mahashivaratri festival

February 20th, 2012 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 20 (IANS) Hindu devotees across Nepal celebrated Mahashivaratri festival with fervour by worshipping Lord Shiva at various temples, rivers and ponds Monday.

The Pashupatinath temple, situated in the heart of capital Kathmandu and regarded as one of the most revered and famous Shiva temples in the world, witnessed a high number of devotees, Xinhua reported.

People thronged the temples since early morning for the Mahashivaratri that is celebrated on the 14th day of the lunar month of Falgun.

The general belief is that if one offers milk, Dhaturo (a kind of intoxicating plant) and “Belpatra” to Lord Shiva and observes night-long fasting, he or she will receive heavenly blessings.

In Nepal, the festival is regarded as a national festival. The occasion consists of “warming” Lord Shiva in the belief that the Lord also feels cold on this day and people organise bonfires at public squares, houses, temples and shrines and perform prayers to please Lord Shiva.

Four kinds of worships are traditionally performed in four phases Monday night, while classical dances would be performed at the Kailashkut and Kirateswor Music Ashram in Kathmandu.

In Kathmandu, thousands of devotees from within and outside the country, predominantly from India, started thronging the Pashupatinath temple since early morning and queued up for hours to worship Lord Shiva.

According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust, arrangements were made to provide security, accommodation, food, medical and communication facilities to the visiting devotees.

On the occasion, the Nepal Army (NA) observed its annual Army Day coinciding with Mahashivaratri festival amidst a grand ceremony at the army pavilion in Tundikhel in Kathmandu. The country’s army has been celebrating the day annually on this day since 1991.

President Ram Baran Yadav, who is also the supreme commander of the NA, and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai besides dignitaries including Vice President Parmananda Jha, ministers and diplomats witnessed parades, games, demos and cultural shows presented by the army personnel.

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