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Maha Shivaratri, the literal translation of “the great night of Shiva”, is one of the major 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). Hindu people also believe that Lord Shiva and Parvati married on this particular day.
The devotees of Lord Shiva celebrate the festival in Shiva temples all over Nepal. However, Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal’s oldest temple, beholds a 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.
The Hindu devotees celebrate the Maha Shivaratri festival at night, unlike other Hindu festivals. 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, and the place will be crowded. But on the other hand, you can see different types of naked Sadhus covered with ashes.