New Delhi: Amid chiming of bells and chanting of mantras, enthusiastic Lord Shiva devotees formed serpentine queues outside temples to offer prayers on the occasion of Maha Shivartri, which was marred by a temple stampede in Uttar Pradesh that killed two persons and injured 12.
Fervour gripped the devotees across the country, who undertook a day-long fast and offered Jalabhisheks to Lord Shiva on the occasion.
In Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, two persons were killed and 12 injured when a stampede broke out at a Shiva temple.
The incident occurred in the wee hours at Lodeshwar Mahadev Temple when the barricades collapsed due to the heavy rush of devotees.
In Varanasi, the city believed to be founded by Lord Shiva according to legends, devotees undertook fast and took bath in Ganga as they offered prayers at the historic Kashi Vishwanath and other temples of the city.
The Maha Kumbh came to an end in Allahabad, where lakh took a dip at the Sangam, the holy confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati on Maha Shivratri.
On this occasion, chief priest of the famous Kedarnath temple in Garhwal Himalayas, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, announced reopening of temple`s sacred portals on May 14.
Thousands of devotees today took a holy dip in river Godavari and visited the Trimbakeshwar, Someshwar and other temples in Nashik district of Maharashtra.
According to the Hindu calendar, Maha Shivratri is celebrated a day or two before the new moon in the month of Phalgun (February-March).
Lord Shiva is considered one of the deities of Hindu Trinity, the other two being Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.