Maha Shivaratri – the Night of Lord Shiva
“Maha Shivaratri” – the Night of Lord Shiva, is a major festival celebrated in Nepal. According to the Hindu Lunar Calendar, this day falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Falgun. With the literal meaning of “Maha Shivaratri”, “Maha” means big or huge, “Shiva” means Lord Shiva, and “Ratri” means night. The devotees fast, worship Lord Shiva, stay up all night, enchant the prayers, and sing hymn all day and night on this day. The priests do a Four-prayers puja throughout the night and day.
There is a myth that Lord Shiva answered the prayer and meditation (Tapasya) of Goddess Parvati. That’s a reason why women usually take fast on this day. Married ones take fasting for the happiness and long-life of their husband and family whereas unmarried take it for getting an idol husband like Lord Shiva. The worshipping starts with the prayers, cleaning the Shiva Lingam with water, milk, ghee, sugar, flowers, and especially Bel leaves. The Pashupatinath Temple is always an admirable place as there is a forest uphill across the Bagmati river. Tourists, especially non-Hindus go uphill to get the amazing view of Pashupatinath Temple.
Maha Shivaratri is a sacred festival. During this day, other than devotees, we can see many sadhus are sitting naked, their bodies are covered with ashes and they will be enjoying by smoking marijuana (bhang), drinking milk mixed with bhang, or eating laddu with bhang. Be careful if you want to avoid the foods mixed with bhang or be ready to get intoxicated. Besides it, different varieties of food items are cooked and sold on the hotels and by street food vendors. Step on Himalaya will always recommend our valued guests to visit Nepal during this festival if possible. The weather usually gets chilly by the evening and throughout the night. People sit around the fire and sing prayers and hymns all the way through the night.
On this day, hundreds and thousands of visitors and devotees gather at Pashupatinath temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva on this day from every corner of the world. The place will be crowded during this festival. Health camps, stalls where drinking water is freely provided, and luggage counters are set up. Police and army are stand-by 24 by 7 for security and safety reasons. A very strict and special arrangement for easing the Darshan is done on Maha Shivaratri mainly at Pashupatinath Temple, including other Shiva Temples throughout the nation depending upon the flocks of devotees. Dattatreya temple, Doleshwor Mahadev, etc are some popular Shiva temples where highly secured arrangements are done for the sake of visitors.
Grab the opportunity to enjoy this unique festival devoted to Lord Shiva and have fun with Step on Himalaya on the auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri. We assure you to make this day one of the best memorable days of your life.
Author: Step on Himalaya
Date: 4th March, 2019