Lakhs expected to celebrate Mahashivaratri

Kathmandu, February 20

Pashupati Area Development Trust has said it expects to host around one million Hindu devotees from Nepal and abroad during religious festival, Mahashivaratri.

Pradeep Dhakal, PADT member-secretary said all preparations for Mahashivaratri were over. Premises of Pashupatinath temple has been decorated with electric lamps and colourful flowers and welcome gates were erected at entry points of the holy site. Emergency health camps, security posts, information centres and temporary toilets have also been set up for devotees.

An 111-member main organising committee headed by Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai, who is also the chairperson of PADT has been formed. PADT has formed 11 subcommittees for necessary preparation of Mahashivaratri, which will be celebrated tomorrow.

The sub-committees will oversee aspects like managing queues of devotees, sanitation, security, publicity and health camps and organise the festival in decent and systematic manner. More than 6,000 security personnel from Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident during the festival.

Hundreds of sadhus from various parts of Nepal and India have already started camping on the temple premises.

The festival is celebrated with great religious fervour in reverence of Lord Shiva.

Ardent Shiva followers fast all night long on the day of Mahashivaratri.

“Lines of devotees will be well managed so that they can worship Shiva Linga within 15 minutes from the core area of the temple,” said Dhakal. Four lines Mitrapark-Gaurighat-Umakunda, Jayabage- shwori-Intapakha-Bhuwane- shwori, Battisputalu-Gaushala Chowk and Airport Tilganga-Sumargi Bhawan will be arranged for devotees to proceed to the temple. Devotees will exit from the same direction by taking U-turn to avoid line crossing, said Dhakal. All four gates of the temple will remain open for devotees from 3:00am.

Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has declared Chabahil-Mitra Park-Gaushala-Battisputali Ratopul-Gaushala and Gaurighat road sections no-go zones for vehicles.

PADT has warned that anyone caught trading in cannabis or other psychoactive drugs will be brought to book under Narcotic Drugs (Control) Act-1976.

Pashupati area has already been declared a drug-free zone. Police said they would act tough on those indulging in illegal activities, including trading in cannabis, bhang, hashish and alcoholic beverages on the pretext of celebration.

Mahashivaratri is celebrated with religious fervour in other Shiva temples as well.