Kathmandu: Tens of thousands of devotees,
including those from India, have arrived at Nepal`s world
famous Pashupatinath temple to celebrate Mahashivratri, one
the most popular Hindu festival in the country.
Some 5,000 Indian devotees have already arrived and
100 Naga sadhus are scheduled to worship at Pashupatinath
tomorrow, said officials at Pashupati Area Development Trust
(PADT), which manages the the fifth century Hindu shrine.
The PADT officials said 4,000 security personnel would
be deployed on the occasion as they expect 5,00,000 people to
visit the most sacred temple of Shiva.
"The temple management committee has arranged 4,000
security personnel and 5,000 volunteers are being mobilised
for security of the devotees," they said.
Located on the banks of the Bagmati river,
Pashupatinath is regarded as the most sacred temple of Shiva
and the oldest Hindu shrine in Nepal. It is also listed in
UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list.
Last month, Nepalese government had set up a top panel
to make the functioning of Pashupatinath Temple more
transparent, following a Supreme Court directive to streamline
the management of the Hindu shrine.
The temple had been at the centre of a row when the
Prachanda-led Maoist coalition government in 2008 sacked the
chief priest and other Brahmins from South India, and
appointed Nepalese priests to replace them.
It had triggered widespread protests across the
country 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.