Celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of Magha, Maha Shivaratri is one of the important festivals in Nepal. It is also known as the “Night of the Shiva”.
Why is this day so important? It’s because devotees believe that the stars on this day are aligned in such a way that is optimum to raise one’s spiritual energy.
This year’s Maha Shivaratri falls on the 11th of February 2021. On this day Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance, “Tandav”. It is believed that Shiva’s principles are most prominent on this day. People from all over the world visit Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu on this auspicious occasion.
Maha Shivaratri Celebration and Rituals
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the holiest shrines of Hindus. It is believed that the temple protects and guards the Kathmandu Valley and Nepal as a whole. During the festival, the whole temple is beautifully decorated with lights & candles as the devotees do their chants “Om Namah Shivay” and “Mahamritunjaya” all night. One can encounter literally hundreds of colorful and naked sadhus meditating and praying in and around Pashupatinath.
Thousands of devotees offer ‘Bael’ to Lord Shiva, worship, and celebrate the night at Pashupatinath. Unmarried girls pray for a groom while married women pray for the longevity and well-being of their husbands. The rituals last for the whole day and throughout the night.
Preparations at Pashupatinath Temple for Maha Shivaratri
Being one of the national festivals of Nepal, Maha Shivaratri is organized by the Government of Nepal. Security personnel is deployed and routes to Pashupatinath Temple are blocked to minimize traffic. If you plan on visiting, you’ll most likely be on foot all day. Millions of visitors are expected on this day as Shivaratri is one of the biggest cultural events in Nepal.
In this year’s Shivaratri, the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) expects approximately 1.3 million people from all around the globe to visit and take part in the rituals. The crowd is usually chaotic. However, this time the PADT has been more focused on organizing the event for everyone’s convenience. Management units have already started working.
The PADT has arranged 5 main routes for devotees to enter the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. Below are the routes that lead to Pashupatinath:
- Mitrapark – Gaurighat – Umakunda – Rudragareshwor – Uttardhoka
- Jayabageshwori – Itapakha – Bhuwaneshwori – Pashchimdhoka
- Battisputali – Gaushala
- Airport – Tilganga – Pingalasthan – Sumargi Building – Panchadewal – Dakshin Dhoka
- Via Ram Mandi
Special arrangements have been made for Indian tourists as well. As the spring season is one of the best times to visit Nepal, Indian travelers can experience different travel destinations during their pilgrimage as well.
“A huge crowd is expected and we are working to manage a fine parking facility and a good place for devotees to sit. Also, as many devotees show eagerness to distribute food to the people present there, we are trying to manage a proper place for the devotees to enjoy their meal.”Mr. Govinda Tandan (Chairman of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).
So, do you plan on visiting Pashupatinath Temple during this Maha Shivaratri of 2021? Let us know in the comments!