Nepal celebrates Hindu god Shiva in record-breaking festival

Kathmandu, Feb 18 (EFE).- The Hindu community in Nepal was marking Maha Shivaratri on Saturday, one the most popular festivals of the year, which this year is expected to see about two million devotees visiting the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu.

“We expect a record number of devotees to visit the temple” to worship the god Shiva, including some 4,000 naga babas and sadhus (Hindu ascetic monks) from neighboring India, Milan Kumar Thapa, secretary of the foundation that organizes the events, Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), told Efe.

Long queues formed outside the temple from early in the morning to welcome the followers of this religious festivity, which is known as “the great night of Shiva”.

“I have been in line since early in the morning,” Laxmi Maharjan, a Hindu devotee who is also practicing fasting, one of the traditions followed especially by women for the Maha Shivaratri celebrations, told Efe.

Since November’s elections, the Himalayan country has seen a resurgence of Hindu nationalism, influenced by the Hindu ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in neighboring India.

The festival gained momentum in 2022 after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, and brought together a million devotees, who lit bonfires in their homes, public places and places of worship, in the belief that it warms the god Shiva.

The Maha Shivaratri was also celebrated in several regions of South Asia, such as India and Sri Lanka, to commemorate the life of the god Shiva, who according to Hindu mythology is believed to have drunk poison to save humanity and the gods from annihilation. EFE


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