Devotees flock to Pashupatinath Temple on Maha Shivaratri

An estimated 700,000 people flocked to the historic Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal to celebrate the Mahashivaratri.

Updated: Feb 20, 2012, 21:37 PM IST

Kathmandu: An estimated 700,000 people,
including 200,000 Indians flocked to the historic Pashupatinath
Temple in Nepal to celebrate the Mahashivaratri festival.

The pilgrims prayed and performed `Aarti` at the temple
considered to be one of the holiest among the Hindus.

4,000 security personnel including Armed Police Force
personnel were deployed as part of stepped up security
measures in force at the premises for the occasion with the
government declaring the day as a public holiday.

People queued up at the temple from 3 am in the
morning for worshipping Lord Shiva. Religious music,
devotional songs, satsang, dance and lecture formed part of
the Maha Shivaratri festival.

The Pashupati Area Development Trust responsible for
managing the temples affairs have also arranged free
accommodation, food, water and medical facilities for hundreds
of thousands of devotees.

Meanwhile, 120 people, including 20 Indians arrested in
Nepal for using cannabis and other criminal offences during
the Maha Shivaratri celebrations here.

Some 120 people were arrested and they included 30
locals who used cannabis, said spokesman of Kathmandu
Metropolitan Police Circle Dhiraj Pratap Singh.

Those using cannabis will be released after the
festival is over, he informed.

He, however said that the Sadhus including those
coming from India have not been arrested even if they consumed
cannabis. "We will release the arrested people after
investigating them," he added.