Kathmandu, Feb 17 – Hindu devotees all over the country celebrated the great festival of Mahashivaratri by worshipping Lord Shiva at various rivers, ponds and temples since early morning. Shivaratri, literally means an auspicious night, is one of the four nights known as Kaalratri, Moharatri, Sukharatri and Shivaratri, and is regarded as one of the greatest festivals in the holy scriptures of the Hindu—the Puranas.
This day traditionally dedicated to lord Shiva is celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Falgun and is believed to have special effect on the devotees. The Skanda Purana, another holy text of the Hindus, also mentions the significance of the Shivaratri. The religious belief is that if one offers milk, Dhaturo (a kind of intoxicating plant) and ‘Belpatra’ to Lord Shiva and observes a night-long fasting, he/she will receive heavenly blessings.
The festival which is regarded as a national festival consists of ‘warming’ Lord Shiva in the belief that the Lord also feels cold on this day and people organize bonfires at public squares, houses, temples and shrines and perform prayers to please Lord Shiva. Four kinds of worships including Mahadip, Akhandadip, Lakshya Batti and Dipotsav as well as offering of Belpatra will be performed in four phases tonight, while classical dances are performed at the Kailashkut and Kirateswor Music Ashram.
In Kathmandu , thousands of devotees from within and outside the country, predominantly from India, throng the Pashupatinath temple from early morning and queue up for hours for the darshan of Lord Shiva.