Shivaratri preparations onThe Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has planned two queues to reach the Pashupati temple on the day of Maha Shivaratri, the annual Hindu festival celebrated in reverence of Lord Shiva.
The Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has planned two queues to reach the Pashupati temple on the day of Maha Shivaratri, the annual Hindu festival celebrated in reverence of Lord Shiva. This year’s festival falls on Monday, March 7.
Besides, the PADT has also provisioned a fast-track access to the temple on payment of Rs1,000, while the entry for the general line is free. PADT officials claim to have made proper arrangements that would allow devotees to reach the main temple within 30 minutes this time around. “We hope this arrangement works better,” said Ramesh Kumar Upreti, executive director of the PADT. All four gates of the temple will open from 3am to allow a great number of devotees to offer their prayers to Lord Shiva, he added.
The PADT has set up separate committees for managing queues, sanitation, running food and health camps, and conducting hymns and prayers on the occasion.
Around 1 million devotees are expected to turn up for the festival this year. The trust has allocated Rs6 million for the overall management of the festival, of which Rs2.4 million will be used for distribution of food, firewood to Sadhus and devotees, and cash handouts to Sadhus before their departure.
The PADT officials estimate more than 3,000 Sadhus, a majority of them from India, especially Naga Baba (naked Sadhus), to converge for the event.
According to Upreti, 3,000 security personnel from the Armed Police Force and Nepal Police will be deployed to secure the area.
They will be keeping an eye on illegal activities, including smoking of marijuana in the area. “We have asked Nepal Police to curb on this unlawful act in today’s [Monday] meeting. Things will be stricter this time around,” said Upreti, referring to incidents in previous years of fraudsters in the guise of Sadhus getting involved in trading of the weed on the day.
Until 1995 the Guthi Sasthan used to provide free marijuana to Sadhus, who would come on a pilgrimage tour of the Pashupatinath. But due to bad practices and shortage of better herbs, Sadhus are now handed out cash on their departure.