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Get ready to experience the spectacular celebration of Maha Shivaratri at Pashupatinath in 2023! Discover all about this incredible Hindu festival and what it entails, from spiritual activities to things you can do in the ancient temple complex.
What is Maha Shivaratri?
Maha Shivaratri is one of the greatest festivals in Nepal. It’s a Hindu festival, and they celebrate it annually in honour of Lord Shiva. The event occurs on the 13th or 14th night of the lunar month of Phalgun, which falls around February or March.
On this festive occasion, devotees fast and offer prayers to Lord Shiva at popular temples like Pashupatinath. They also observe night-long vigils and stay up all night chanting Shiva’s mantras and singing devotional songs.
The Symbolism Behind the Festival
The main symbolism behind the festival of Maha Shivaratri is Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance of creation and destruction. This event also reminds us to perform good deeds, chant mantras, meditate and practice austerity. By following these practices today, we can overcome fear and ignorance and attain liberation in life. Devotees believe they can cleanse themselves from suffering and sorrows by engaging in such spiritual activities on this auspicious occasion.
Where is Pashupatinath Temple?
Pashupatinath Temple is the most sacred temple for Lord Shiva in Nepal. The temple is situated at the banks of the Bagmati River, about 3-4 km from Kathmandu city. The shrine is over two thousand years old and serves as a pilgrimage site for devotees worldwide who come to pay homage and receive blessings from Lord Shiva.
What are the Traditional Rituals at Pashupatinath?
Many traditional rituals take place every year on the day of Maha Shivaratri. The devotees start their day by offering fruits and flowers to the majestic Lord Shiva. Then, prayers, aarti and bhajans echo in the temple as thousands gather to celebrate this auspicious occasion. After paying homage to Lord Shiva, devotees will carry a pot filled with water and march around the main temple. This ritual symbolizes completing a holy pilgrimage and is believed to bring divine grace upon the disciples.
The Special Celebration of Maha Shivaratri 2023 at Pashupatinath
The Pashupatinath temple will become a hub of celebration and joy on the eve of Maha Shivaratri on Monday, March 21st 2023. Locals and devotees worldwide flock to Kathmandu to witness this grand festival. Expect colourful processions, a mass puja, chanting of mantras and many more special activities throughout the day. Many impressive marble structures pay tribute to Lord Shiva and make for an unmissable Holy experience!
Read More About Shivaratri
Maha Shivaratri, the literal translation of “the grand night of Shiva”, is one of the main Hindu festivals celebrated in Nepal and India annually in reverence of Lord Shiva. Although there is Shivaratri every month in the Hindu calendar, this particular day is especially meaningful because people believe that Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance called ‘Tandav Nritya’ on this day. People celebrate this Shivaratri festival on the 13th night/14th day of the lunar month of the Hindu calendar, which falls in Falgun (Feb or Mar). Hindus also believe that Lord Shiva and Parvati married on this day.
The devotees of Lord Shiva celebrate the festival in Shiva temples all over Nepal. However, Pashupatinath, Nepal’s oldest temple, deserves special recognition.
The Hindu devotees will offer a ritual bath to the Shiva Lingam with milk, ghee, butter and dung. In addition, they chant mantras, perform poojas, and offer food and fruits to Shiva on this auspicious day.
Unlike other Hindu festivals, Hindu devotees celebrate the Maha Shivaratri festival at night. This festival is very special to females, and on this day, married women observe fasting for their husband’s well-being while unmarried pray for a suitable husband like Lord Shiva.
Hindu devotees from Nepal and India will visit Pashupatinath Temple on this day, which will be crowded. But on the other hand, you can witness different types of naked Sadhus covered with ashes.