Teej being celebrated today, PADT expects 600,000 devotees

KATHMANDU: Many Hindu women across various parts of the country are observing Haritalika Teej today. Most of those celebrating the festival observe fast, sing, dance and offer prayers to Lord Shiva.

However, forms of celebrations vary across geography and cultures of the country.

Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has completed all preparations to host women devotees at Pashupatinath temple. PADT administrative officer Rewati Raman Adhikari told THT that around 600,000 devotees were expected to visit the temple.  Different entry points have been set up for devotees to access the northern, western and southern gates of the temple.

Special security arrangements have been made in and around the temple to prevent any untoward incident. At least 45,000 cops, both in uniform and civvies, from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department have been deployed for security of the devotees. The temple area is under surveillance of around 40 CCTV cameras.

Similarly, nearly 2,000 volunteers from 40 organisations are helping PADT providing necessary support for devotees, including the elderly. Adhikari informed that arrangements were made so that no devotee would have to stand in a queue for more than one hour to visit the temple.  “All four doors of the temple will remain open from 3:00 am. The northern, southern and eastern doors, however, will remain closed at around 1:30 pm for around 20 minutes for regular rituals in the temple,” he said.

The elderly and persons with disabilities need not stand in a queue. Around a dozen health camps have been set up to provide emergency medical services to devotees. Arrangements of an information centre, and temporary and mobile toilets have also been made.

The PADT, in association with the district administration office and police, has put a ban on the sale and consumption of liquor and psychoactive drugs around the temple.

Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has declared Chabahil-Mitrapark-Gaushala-Battisputali, Ratopul-Gaushala and Gaurighat-Gaushala road sections a ‘no-go zone’ for vehicles today. Devotees can park their vehicles in Tilganga, Sifal and Guheshwori.

Teej festival is a three-day-long celebration, which combines gatherings‚ singing‚ dancing, eating dar and rigid fasting. The first day, called dar khane din, was celebrated on Tuesday The second day is the fasting day or the main day of Teej. The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami when women break their fast after performing puja of Sapta Rishi.