February 20, 2012

Hindu devotees celebrate Maha Shivaratri across India (16 PICS)

New Delhi/Jammu: Hindu devotees are celebrating the festival of Mahashivaratri with traditional religious fervour across India on Monday.

In New Delhi, devotees observed a fast and thronged temples to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva, widely regarded as the destroyer of the universe by Hindus.

Priests spoke about common rituals and said temple doors had been left open since the early hours of the morning to allow devotees to pay homage.

"We pray to Lord Shiva to spread happiness in everybody`s life and they should remain happy. Today, on the occasion of Mahashivratri, devotees have congregated at the temple in huge numbers and the temple doors were left open for the devotees from 3:30 in the morning. Devotees are standing in long queues to offer prayers. On this day, even if a devotee offers a glass of water on the Shivlingam, Lord Shiva fulfils all his wishes. With such a belief, devotees are thronging the temple to offer bael patri (wood apple leaves), milk, curd, Ghee (traditional Indian clarified butter) and honey," said Tej Prakash Sharma, a priest.

In Jammu, Hindu devotees also celebrated Mahashivratri with enthusiasm.

"We have come to visit the temple to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. This temple is a known one and all our wishes get fulfilled here. We get peace of mind on our visit to the temple," said Sunita Verma, a devotee.

Mahashivratri falls during the dark half of the month of Magh. A day of strict fasting accompanied by Lord Shiva`s worship and vigil precedes the festival. Devotees rejoice and feast after they break their fast. It is regarded as an extremely auspicious festival. The festival celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati, and holds immense importance for all Hindus.

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