Shivaratri Festival tour in Nepal
One of the popular festivals celebrated by Hindu communities around the globe, MahaShivaratri is the biggest festival when people worship Shiva. The article is focusing about Shivaratri festival and its importance as well as how the festival is seen in Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. Pashupatinath is the biggest Shiva temple in Nepal and one of the biggest of the world. Although the main temple is closed for non-Hindus still it worth a lot to see from outside. Even the Hindus need to be queued for at least few hours to worship few seconds inside the main temple.
What is Shivaratri and when it falls?
Shivaratri falls every month but the special one is celebrated according to lunar calendar and is called Mahashivaratri and falls on the month of March/April. As the festival is celebrated following the lunar calendar the date keeps changing every year. Mahashivaratri literally signify, “the great night of Shiva”. Mahashivaratri is often taken as an ending of winter in Kathmandu. There is a popular tale in Kathmandu that the devotees who came from outside of Kathmandu take the cold of Kathmandu with them so the next day of the festival it start feeling hot in Kathmandu. The Shivaratri is celebrated by remembering Shiva, chanting prayers for Shiva and fasting for a day. Devotees keep awake for a whole night which is called Jagaran and they often offers lamp to lord Shiva. When the night is over Devotees visits the nearest Shiva temples or Jyotirlingas and pay homage to lord Shiva.
The festival is celebrated to overcome darkness and ignorance. The offering of wood apple fruit, leaves and cow milk is made to Shiva. The chanting of “Om Namah Shivaya” is done while visiting the Shiva shrine.
During Shivaratri Lord Shiva performs heavenly dance for creation, preservation and destructions. There is a legend, Shiva and Parbati got married a day before Shivaratri so Shivaratri considered the honeymoon night for Shiva.
Another legend describe about the churning of the sea by God and Asuras which produces blue venom and started destroying the world. Shiva worried after seeing this and drunk the poison, if he would have drunk the poison he would have died also so he kept the poison in his throat and still he is holding that poison in his throat. After that incidence Shiva is considered as Nilkantha signify blue throated who is dedicated for preserving the world.
Married women pray for Shiva to get well-being of their husband and unmarried women pray for getting husband like Shiva. Shiva is considered as ideal husband because who not only loves his wife while she is living but carried her body when she died until decay and move to different part in the Himalayas.
Where to go to observe Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu
There are celebrations of Shivaratri festival in all Shiva temples in Kathmandu and in every Hindu community. The main temple where Shivaratri is celebrated in Kathmandu is Pashupatinath temple and Makhan Mahadev temple nearby Kathmandu durbar Square. Millions of people flood the Pashupatinath temple for worshipping Shiva. Thousands of Sadhus from all different sect of Shaivism like to visit Pashupatinath temple and worship for Shiva. Most of the Sadhus often found smoking marihuana considering Shiva Buti and descended from Shiva to them. Local youths from Kathmandu often smoke marihuana during Shivaratri.
Tips for foreigners to visit Pashupatinath temple during Shivaratri
It is a wonderful idea to observe Pashupatinath temple during the biggest festival of Shivaratri but there are some facts one has to consider to take advantage of the festival. The whole area got crowded during this festival so if you do not love crowd this is not the right day to go there. Here is some information to enjoy the festival in full for foreigners.
Do not carry vital documents as you might loose and do not carry much cash because of the pickpockets.
Take care of your camera/ smart phone.
Do not engage with sadhus to have a puff of marihuana.
Carry entrance fee and limited cash.
Do not try the food offered for free.
Take your time to observe every corner.
If you want a guided tour to any of the monuments during the festival or without festival please check our private day tours for receiving insider’s knowledge and enjoy your holiday in Nepal.
The leader of the Himalayan region is waiting to serve you for creating an unforgettable time and experience. Observe the Next Shivaratri festival with us in Kathmandu.