1m throng Pashupati on Shivaratri

- Anup Ojha, KATHMANDU
1m throng Pashupati on Shivaratri

Feb 18, 2015-

Over a million visitors thronged the Pashupatinath temple for the Shivaratri festival on Tuesday, according to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).  

Officials said around 150,000 pilgrims came from India. Hindus from other parts of the world, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Saarc countries Bhutan and Sri Lanka also visited the shrine.

This year, Pashupatinath witnessed the arrival of around 5,000 sadhus from India and elsewhere in Nepal.  These scantily-clad, ash-smeared sadhus or babajis have become a major attraction of the festival. This year too, the holy men were surrounded by whorls of people, some to smoke charas and others just to satiate their curiosity about the sadhus.

The authorities had deployed over 6,000 security personnel in and around temple area. There were 3,500 volunteers to manage and assist the crowd.

From early morning, devotees started queing up to get inside the main temple complex for prayers. The serpentine lines stretched as far as Tribhuvan International Airport to the east of the temple and Kalopul to the west.

“I got inside the temple and offered my prayers at 5am. I spent the afternoon with a hymn group,” said Debi Sharma, who arrived from Nawalparasi on Monday.   

Each devotee was given five minutes’ window to offer prayers inside the temple.

The PADT sold around 2,000 fast track passes to the devotees who wanted easy access to the temple.

Meanwhile, President Ram Baran Yadav visited the temple in the evening as the head of the state and performed a puja there.  

He told the reporters that he asked for Pashupatinath’s blessing for peace and speedy promulgation of the new constitution.

Vice President Para-mananda Jha, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and former king Gyanendra Shah also visited the temple.

Published: 18-02-2015 07:33

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