KATHMANDU, FEBRUARY 26
The Pashupati Area Development Trust has stepped up preparations with decoration at the Pashupati area for Mahashivaratri, one of the major festivals of Hindus that falls on February 29 this year.
According to the PADT, eight sub-committees have been formed to organise the festival. These sub-committees will look after various aspects such as hassle-free arrangement to help devotees enter inside the temple premises and make security arrangements for the safety of the public. The PADT, an authorised government body to undertake overall religious and cultural activities inside the Pashupati area, has also completed lodging and food arrangements for sadhu babas, the ardent followers of Lord Shiva who come from various parts of Nepal as well as Shiva shrines across India.
Authorities have said larger number of sadhus are likely to visit Pashupati area this year, as there were no massive celebrations of the festival in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of devotees is also likely to reach 4,000 this time around, according to the PADT.
The commercial buying and selling of marijuana that sadhus smoke has been prohibited this year too.
This measure was introduced by the PADT a few years ago. It warned that anyone caught trading in marijuana or other psychoactive drugs would be brought to book under the Narcotic Drugs (Control) Act. Pashupati area has already been declared a drug-free zone.
Around 10,000 security personnel from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepali Army will be deployed during the VVIP visit in a bid to provide security on the premises of the temple.
Emergency health camps, security posts, information centres and temporary toilets will also be set up on the premises of the temple a day before the festival.
Meanwhile, authorities have estimated that over Rs 10 million will be spent for the final decoration and sanitation work in the area for the festival. Of the total expenses, Rs 2.5 to Rs three million has been contributed by the public. The PADT has spent over three million for installing wall murals depicting Lord Shiva as per the directives of Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale, who also heads the Operation Council of the PADT.
The PADT said all four entrance gates of the temple would remain open for devotees from 3:00am on the day of Mahashivaratri.
There will be three entry points to the temple. The first entry point starts from the Airport-Pingalasthan-Gausala area. Visitors can enter the temple through two lines towards the southern door of the temple. The second point starts from the Siphal-Jaibageshwori-Bhuwaneshwori area that leads to the western door of the temple.
The third point begins from Ghuheshwori-Gauridhara-Umakunda area that leads to the northern door of the temple.
A version of this article appears in the print on February 27, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.