Preparations for Shivaratri in full swingPreparations are in full swing for the Mahashivaratri—the biggest Hindu festival dedicated to the Lord Shiva—which falls on February 23 this year.
Preparations are in full swing for the Mahashivaratri—the biggest Hindu festival dedicated to the Lord Shiva—which falls on February 23 this year.
According to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), the preparations are in the final stage for the event that is expected to be attract an estimated 1.3 million pilgrims to the Pashupatinath temple this year. Last year, one million people had visited the world heritage site.
Unlike the previous years, the will not be provision of special passes for pilgrims. Earlier, pilgrims could get a direct access to the main temple upon purchasing a Rs1,000 ticket. “We’ve scrapped the system of special passes this year,” said Govinda Tandon, member secretary at the PADT, conceding that the system was the subject of a widespread criticism. “God is equal to all, and the temple is for everyone regardless of their economic status.”
For the smooth organisation of the event, Tandon said, the PADT has formed nine subcommittees to manage health camps, security, traffic, accommodation for sadhus (holi man).
More than 5,000 sadhus, including Naga Babas, are expected to attend the festival. Around 4,000 sadhus visited the temple last year.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from across the country and neighbouring India visit the holy site every year to pay their homages to Lord Shiva.
A group of babas from India’s Haryana state has already arrived here, said Tandon, adding that the PADT has started distributing food and accommodation for them.
A huge number of personnel from Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and volunteers from Nepal Scouts and various other organisations will be deployed for the overall management of the festival.