Thousands of Hindu devotees from across India and Pakistan on Monday celebrated the festival of Mahashivaratri with traditional religious fervor as chants of “bam bam bole” and “har har mahadev” reverberated in the air.
Devotees from all over the country observed a fast and thronged Shiva temples to worship Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated in the honor of Hindu God Shiva, one of the Trinity of Gods - the Creator, the Destroyer and the Preserver - who are intrinsic to Hindu mythology.
Pakistani Hindus too celebrated Mahashivratri after a gap of six years when a group of Indian pilgrims joined the festivities at the Katas Raj temple in Chakwal district in the Punjab province in Pakistan.
A delegation of about 50 Indian pilgrims reached Lahore over the weekend to celebrate the festival at the 900-year-old Katas Raj temple at Chakwal, officials said.
Devotees observe day and night fasts, chant mantras and worship Lord Shiva to appease him on this day which falls on the 13th night/14th day of the 11th Hindu month of Maagha, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The festival is believed to be auspicious, especially for women, as they pray for the well-being of their husband and children.
A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, smokes marijuana on a chillum at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu Feb. 20, 2012. Reuters
A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, with tika on his forehead is seen at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu Feb. 20, 2012. Reuters
A hand of a Hindu holy man, or Sadhu, holds a trident at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu Feb. 20, 2012. Reuters
Hindu devotees pour milk over Shivling (a symbol of Lord Shiva) inside a temple during the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad Feb. 20, 2012. Reuters