The festival of Mahashivaratri is being celebrated today with much fervor and gaiety across Nepal.
According to the lunar calendar, Mahashivaratri is observed on the day of Krishna Chaturdashi of Falgun. This year, the festival is being observed on March 11.
The festival comes with a number of mythological beliefs.
According to some Puranas, on this day, Lord Shiva drank poison to save the earth, which made his throat blue, while others believe that this day marks the convergence of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Chairperson of Nepal Calendar Determination Committee, Prof. Dr. Ramchandra Gautam, informed that Lord Brahma took the form of Shiva in the midnight of Krishna Chaturdashi.
On this auspicious day, Nepali Hindus take a holy bath in rivers and visit Lord Shiva temple to offer prayers and seek blessings from the almighty.
Today, people observe fasting during the day and stay vigil (jagram) during the night, praying and chanting mantras.
Devotees believe that fasting and jagram bring happiness, prosperity, and success in life, and Lord Shiva bestows his blessings.
On this day, Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu will be thronged by devotees from across the country and neighboring India. This year, Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has made special arrangements for facilitating the devotees.
According to the PADT, all the four gates of the temple would be opened from 4:00 AM today.
However, this year, the Pashupatinath temple has been decorated in a low-profile manner due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The PADT said it had reduced its budget for decorations and food since a few sadhus and devotees are expected to visit the temple due to the pandemic.
“A small number of devotees will visit Pashupatinath on the day of Mahashivaratri this year due to COVID-19,” said Pradeep Dhakal, PADT Member Secretary.
According to Pradeep, around 300,000 devotees are expected to visit Pashupatinath this year. So far, over 100 sadhus have reached Pashupatinath, and some sadhus will arrive today.
NepaliSansar Wishes All the Readers A Happy Mahashivaratri!