Teej being observed with fervour

Kathmandu, August 23

Hindu women are observing Haritalika Teej, a major Hindu festival, today by fasting, singing, dancing and offering prayers to Lord Shiva.

The Pashupati Area Development Trust said preparations to host tens of thousands of women devotees were completed in Pashupatinath temple. Special security arrangements have been put in place in and around the temple to prevent any untoward incident.

At least 5,000 cops, both in uniform and civvies, from the Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force have been deployed for security of the devotees. They have been mobilised in two shifts since yesterday. The entire premises of the temple are under surveillance of 30 CCTV cameras.

PADT administrative officer Rewati Raman Adhikari said over 300,000 devotees were expected to visit the temple. There are four entry points along Mitrapark-Umakunda for northern gate, Gaushala-Bankali for southern gate and Jayabageshwari-Bhuwaneshwari for western gate through which devotees can proceed towards the temple in lines. Similarly, VIPs can use Tilganga-Bagmati route.

Only PADT employees, security personnel, authorised volunteers and women devotees are allowed to enter the temple premises. Adhikari said arrangements have been made in such a way that no devotee has to stand in queue for more than half an hour to reach the temple. All four doors of Pashupatinath temple are open from 3:00am. The elderly and persons with disabilities also need not stand in queue.

This year, the PADT has discontinued the ticketing system for devotees who want to avoid long queues for quick darshan of Lord Shiva. 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.

Meanwhile, the PADT has appealed to all not to wear jewellery made of precious metals to prevent incidents of robbery and snatching. The PADT, in association with the District Administration Office and police, has put a ban on sale and consumption of liquor and psychoactive drugs around the temple.

Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has been set to declare Chabahil-Mitrapark-Gaushala-Battisputali, Ratopul-Gaushala and Gaurighat-Gaushala road sections a ‘no-go zone’ for vehicles today.

Teej festival is a three-day-long celebration, which combines gatherings‚ singing‚ dancing, eating dar and rigid fasting. The first day of Teej is called dar khane din. On this day, women eat delicious and heavy food items before midnight. The second day is the fasting day or the main day of Teej, which fall today. Women spend the day without a morsel of food and some even a drop of water. The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami when women break their fast after performing puja of Sapta Rishi.

The festival is traditionally devoted to goddess Parvati in memory of her union with Lord Shiva, her consort. Married women observe fast wishing for their marital bliss, while the unmarried ones do so to pray to the deity in the hope of getting an ideal husband.