Preparations for Mahashivaratri in full swing

Kathmandu, February 11

Pashupati Area Development Trust has stated that preparation for Mahashivaratri, one of the major festivals of Hindus, is in full swing.

The festival falls on February 13. Organising a press meet, PADT said preparation for Mahashivaratri was in the final stage. It is expected that 1 million to 1.2 million devotees from different parts of the country and India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia are expected to visit Pashupatinath temple during Mahashivaratri festival.

PADT Member Secretary Pradeep Dhakal said, “We are focusing on management of visitors and food and lodging arrangements for sadhus.  We are confident that this year Mahashivaratri festival will be celebrated peacefully like in previous years.”

The PADT said all four gates of the temple would remain open for devotees from 3:00am on the day of Mahshivaratri. Visitors coming from the Battisputali area can enter the temple through southern gate, while those from the Koteshwor area can get in through the eastern gate.

Likewise, visitors coming from the Guheshwori side can enter the temple through the northern gate and those from the Chabahil area through the western gate. The western gate will also be used as the exit gate for all visitors.

According to PADT Joint Secretary Rewati Raman Adhikari, around 1,500 personnel from  Armed Police Force, and 2,500 from Nepal Police and CIB will be mobilised from tomorrow to maintain security. Around 700 members of Peace Scout and 1,200 members of Nepal Scout will also be mobilised for Mahashivaratri.

All kind of vehicles will be prohibited from entering Ring Road through Sinamangal and Chabahil from tomorrow midnight. Inner city roads that are linked with Chabahil-Sinamangal stretch of  Ring Road will also be blocked. Similarly, Guiyeshwori-Gaurighat stretch will also be blocked on the day of the festival.

Dhakal warned that anyone caught trading in marijuana or other psychoactive drugs would be brought to book under Narcotic Drugs (Control) Act, 1976. Pashupati area has already been declared marijuana-free zone. “Even sadhus will be warned against selling marijuana to visitors,” he added.

Emergency health camps, security posts, information centres and temporary toilets will be set up on the premises of the temple a day before the festival. It is estimated that around 4,000 sadhus from India will visit the temple during the festival and food and lodging arrangements have already been made for them, said PADT.

Reconstruction work still on

KATHMANDU: The ongoing reconstruction of temples and sattals that were destroyed in the 2015 earthquakes is likely to cause difficulty in the movement of devotees during the Mahashivaratri festival. Around 27 temples in the Pashupatinath complex are undergoing reconstruction. Construction materials are strewn across the temple area obstructing the movement of visitors. Some areas are barred for visitors by erecting corrugated zinc sheets, but these barriers have made the movement of people all the more difficult. PADT Member Secretary Pradeep Dhakal said the ongoing reconstruction work would not affect the movement of devotees and necessary steps had been taken to ensure their safety. Workers were seen removing construction materials till 3:00pm on Sunday. A total of 190 temples and sattals in the Pashupati complex were damaged in the 2015 earthquakes, said PADT officials. — HNS

Petition seeks ban on ‘obscene acts’

KATHMANDU: Advocate Yagyamani Neupane on Sunday filed a case at the Supreme Court demanding that Naga Babas (naked sadhus) be banned from doing ‘obscene acts’ in the name of religion at Pashupatinath temple during Mahashivaratri festival. The first hearing of the case has been scheduled for Monday. Neupane has stated in his writ petition that Naga Babas roam freely around Pashupatinath temple and harass women in the name of religion during the festival and their ‘obscene acts’ should be prohibited. The petitioner has also argued that Naga Babas’ ‘obscene acts’ in the name of religion violated public morality and citizens’ constitutional rights. “It is also a kind of violence against women,” Neupane said. He has named the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Kathmandu District Administration Office, Nepal Police Headquarters and Pashupati Development Trust as defendants. — HNS