Security ramped up for Maha Shivratri at Pashupati

Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 21:24

Kathmandu: Thousands of devotees, including
Indians, are expected to worship here at Nepal`s world famous
Pashupatinath temple on Maha Shivratri as authorities stepped
up security around the most sacred Lord Shiva temple.

Some 6 lakh to 7 lakh visitors, including 2.5 lakh from
India, are expected to gather here on Monday during the
festival, said Sushil Nahata, chief of the Pashupati Area
Development Trust PADT that manages the temple.

He said free accommodation, food and drinking water are
being arranged for thousands of devotees who arrive from
different parts of the country as well as India.

Located on the banks of the Bagmati river, the 5th
century shrine is regarded as the most sacred temple of Lord
Shiva (Pashupati) and the oldest Hindu shrine in Nepal. The
temple is also listed in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site
list.

Special devotional songs and dances and religious
discourses form part of the celebration during the Maha
Shivratri.

Some 4,000 security personnel and 6,000 volunteers are
being mobilized for security and convenience of the
devotees.

Altogether, 2,500 Sadhus (saints) and 300 Naga Babas are
expected to arrive from India to worship at the most famous
temple of Lord Pashupati on the occasion.

Some 300 to 400 buses full of devotees have already
arrived to worship at the Hindu shrine.

Authorities here said that though there will be a long
queue for the devotees, but special arrangements have been
made for those seeking an early worship.

Those wishing to avoid the long queue can purchase NRs
1,000 ticket and bypass the queue to reach the main temple
complex.

In 2008, the tempel had been the centre of a row when the
Prachanda-led Maoist coalition government sacked the chief
priest and other Brahmins from South India, and appointed
Nepalese priests to replace them.

It had triggered widespread protests across Nepal and in
India as it was a break with centuries-old tradition where
Brahmins from South India have led the worship at one of the
holiest Hindu shrine.

Later, Nepal`s Supreme Court had stayed the government
regulation aimed at ending the 300-year old monopoly of Indian
priests at the famed Pashupatinath.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 21:24

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