“Om Namaha Shivaya............”
Nepal is the land of fests and festivals. There are more than 100 festivals in Nepal in a year celebrated by Nepalese people. Maha shivaratri is also one of the most important festival celebrated in Nepal, praying and worshiping God Shiva (Mahadev Shiva). Shivaratri is celebrated as birth-night of Lord Shiva.As Hindu culture Shiva is the god of the gods. Shiva is the god of the yogis who is self-controlled and celibate. Lord Shiva is also known as the creator as well as destroyer of the world. It is said that shiva has no gender, no race and no religion. Shiva means auspicious one. He is one among Trimurti Gods: Brahma, Bishnu and Maheswor. Shiva is Maheshwor. Lord Shiva is regarded as creator, preserver, destroyer, concealer,and reliever. He lives in Himalaya at the Northern side of Nepal at mount Kailash and lives as a saint (sadhu) with snake around his neck, wear deer skin and sits on tiger's skin. Damaru is his musical instrument and Trisul is his weapon. Shiva is often depicted as being blue due to a poison he drank that could have destroyed the universe. Parvathi tightened a noose around his neck so he could not fully swallow it. So it turned blue.
How is Maha Shivaratri celebrated
According to the shiva puran, worshiping a god Shiva has a special rule and holy fruits and flowers. Six holy items are regarded precious to worship and offer Lord Shiva in Maha Shivaratri.
- Beal Leaf (Marmelos leaf) - offering of Beal Leaf represents purification of the soul.
- Vermilion paste (Chandan) – Applying chandan on Shiva Linga after washing the Linga represents good feature. Chandan is inseparable part of Worshipping Lord Shiva.
- Food items - Food items such as rice and fruits are offered to the Lord to ensure a long life and fulfillment of desires.
- Incense (Dhoop batti) - Incense sticks are lit before Lord Shiva to be blessed with wealth and prosperity.
- Lamp (Diyo) - The lighting of Cotton handmade batti , lamp or diyo is believed to be helpful to gain knowledge.
- Betel leaves (Paan ko patta) – Beatle leaves or Pan ko pat represents satisfaction with maturity.
Shiva devotees observe whole day and night fasting. Shiva Linga pooja is done in the night by chanting mantras, offering Beal leaf and pouring water on the linga. Fireplace is set in avenues and in temples at night to make Lord Shiva warm. In villages and towns big logs are burnt in places and people sing Shiva bhajans the whole night.
There are 108 names to pray lord Shiva. But peoples who does not know the rule and mantras, only pray for god shiva chanting mantras “Om Namaha Shivaya”.
Pashupatinath temple is holy place where shivaratri is celebrated. There are several myths about pashupathinath and bankali Jungle on the side of pashupatinath. This temple is considered one of the sacred temples of Hindu faith .This temple complex is on UNESCO World Heritage Sites's list Since 1979.
For all details about pashupatinath and its cost of entrance for foreign visitor you can visit : http://www.pashupatinathtemple.org/