First day in Nepal, and what a day…. I came to Nepal with (un-planned) perfect timing. The festival Maha Shivaratri was celebrated today.
“The celebration includes maintaining a “jaagaran”, an all-night vigil and prayers, because Shaiva Hindus mark this night as “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in one’s life and the world through Shiva.”
After visiting the temple area I visit the ‘non-touristic’ cremation side of the Bagmati River, where I was standing not more than 2 meters from the burning. Back to the temple area I was lucky to received a blessing from the sadhus.
The sadus walked all the way from India to here for today.
A impressive day!
Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva.
There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or Phalguna) and before the arrival of spring, marks Maha Shivaratri which means “the Great Night of Shiva”.
It is a major festival in Hinduism, but one that is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, noninjury to others, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated widely in the temples all over Nepal but especially in the Pashupatinath temple. Thousands of devotees visit the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham nearby as well. The Nepalese army parades around the city of Kathmandu to pay tribute to Lord Shiva, and holy rituals are performed all over the nation. Artists from various classical music and dance forms perform through the night. On Maha Shivaratri, married women pray for the well being of their husbands, unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, considered as the ideal husband. Shiva is also worshipped as the Adi Guru (first teacher) from whom the yogic tradition originates.