Kathmandu: Around 700,000 Hindu devotees from India and Nepal are expected to visit the Pashupatinath temple here on Feb 27 to celebrate Mahashivaratri, a major Hindu festival.
One of the major attractions of the festival are the Indian ‘Naga babas’ who remain nude and offer puja in their typical manner to Lord Shiva, one of the Trinity that dominates the Hindu religion.
“We are expecting around 700,000 Hindu devotees from India and Nepal to visit the Pashupatinath temple this year during the Maha Shivaratri festival,” Govinda Tandan, member-secretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust, told IANS.
Among them around 5,000 sadhus and babas from various places of India will arrive here for the auspicious day, Tandan said.
A group of Indian artists will also perform various musical and religious shows during the festivities.
The only problem that the temple authorities are facing is how to handle the long serpentine queues of devotees.
However, Tandan said those who want to skip the long queues can pay Nepali Rupees 1,000 (around 625 Indian Rupees) and offer their prayers within minutes.
Tandan said millions of rupees are collected on that particular day with many devotees also offering gold and other precious metals.
To make it easy for the devotees to offer their donations, the State Bank of India and the Nepal Investment Bank have set up counters and ATM vending machines inside the temple, he added.
“The saints, sages and babas have started arriving in Kathmandu,” Tandan said.
“To keep a close watch on people, to manage security and other logistic arrangements, we are deploying around 3,000 security personnel and 10,000 volunteers,” he added.