Dewan Rai

Kathmandu:

Of the four Ratris (night), Shivaratri — one of the major Hindu festivals — is a night of fasting and prayer in honour of Lord Shiva. According to Hindu Mythology, Bramha is the creator, Bishnu is the preserver and Lord Shiva is the God of Destruction and thus is sometimes described as God of all Gods. The devotees in their prayer ask Lord Shiva to wash away all the sins they have committed. Mahashivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva himself was created by his own divine grace. Hindus all over the world celebrate the festival with zeal and enthusiasm. The devotees from all parts of the country as well as neighbouring countries throng to Pashupatinath. Literally ‘the lord of animals’ Pashupatinath is one of the many forms of Lord Shiva.

Legend say, most of the devotees go to worship literally to wrangle with the God for their wishes to be fulfilled. In the dawn devotees take a holy bath in Bagmati river and then they have to stand in a long queue to enter into the temple for worship. Since early hours, the vicinity of Pashupatianth is seen bustling with the crowd of devotees and spectators. One of the highlights during Shivratri is the number of sadhus who throng to Pashupatinath, not only from across the country but also from the neighbouring countries. Different types of sadhus could be seen around who are one of the rare sights for many. This year, Marwadi Sewa Samittee along with other social welfare organisations has managed the accommodation of these people.

“More than 400 sadhus have already arrived here,” says Ram Prasad Dahal, member, Pashupati Area Development Trust. According to Dahal, more than 1,700 sadhus and babas had visited last year. Hemp, an intoxicating substance that Lord Shiva is touted to enjoy the most is considered to be prasad hence people believe that it is one of the constituent of holy prasad and some could be seen around in search of it — most of them hanging around the sadhus as they are supposed to be the main possessors. A 441-member Mahashivaratri Management Committee 2061 and nine sub-committees under it have been formed to manage the festival this year.

Dahal says, “Sixteen hundred volunteers from Nepal Scout and 34 various organisations will be mobilised on the day to take care of the various things. Three passageways have been fixed to enter the temple.” As per this year’s arrangement, around 150 devotees will be able to worship per minute while all the four doors are open, informs Dahal. The committee estimates around 1,50,000 devotees to turn up to mark the day.