Bhopal: The annual festival of Mahashivratri, a special day of reverence for Lord Shiva, is being celebrated on Monday across Madhya Pradesh with faith and fervour.
Outside all Shiva temples, there were long queues of devotees who perform special pujas and make offerings to the lord.
Madhya Pradesh is home to Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain district and Omkareshwar in Khandwa district -- two of the 12 Jyotirlings, the most venerated Shiva shrines in India.
The queues of devotees outside Mahakaleshwar started to form as early as Sunday night even though the darshan of the oord was to start only after `Bhasmaarti`, the special prayer, on Monday morning.
The deity has been specially decked up for the festival. And the temple will remain open continuously for 44 hours.
Thousands of people from across the country are also thronging at Omkareshwar.
Shiva temple in Bhojpur district of the state is another historic temple that is darwing crowds in their thousands.
Shiva shrines in Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior and other districts of the state too are being visited by large crowds of devotees.
Mahashivratri festival is celebrated on the `Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi` of Hindu lunar month of Maagha as per `Amavasya-ant` month calculation.
The festival is principally celebrated by offering `Bel` leaves to Lord Shiva and by keeping all-day fast.