The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, which usually draws thousands of pilgrims and sadhus on Maha Shivaratri festival is seeing a dip in the number of visitors this year due to the Covid pandemic, according to authorities.
As per the Pashupati Area Development Trust, (PADT) the temple, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, celebrates the festival with fanfare and gaiety and attracts thousands of pilgrims from India.
This year along with pilgrims, the number of ascetics mostly from India visiting the shrine has also taken a dip.
One of the major festivals of Nepal, Maha Shivaratri literally means "Night of the Shiva".
It is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the Magha month, as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
It is believed that on this day, the stars in the Northern Hemisphere are at the most optimum positions to help raise a person's spiritual energy.
It is also believed that the Shiva principle is most active on this day of the year.
It is celebrated marking the convergence of Shiva and Shakti.
The festival also celebrates the night when Lord Shiva performed the "Tandav", the cosmic dance.
Hundreds of thousands of devotees visit Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, one of the holiest shrines of the Hindus.
Pashupatinath is considered the Guardian and Protector of the Kathmandu Valley and Nepal.
The premises of the temple-- which typically filled with bustling crowds--bore a barren look on the eve of the festival on Wednesday.
Devotees took a holy dip at the Har Ki Pauri ghat in Uttarakhand's Haridwar on the occasion of the third 'Shahi Snan' in Kumbh on April 14. The first bath was held on March 11 on the occasion of Mahashivratri, while the second took place on April 12. Haridwar remains heavily crowded, despite skyrocketing cases of COVID-19.
On the occasion of the second shahi snan in Kumbh, Niranjani Akhada sadhus took a holy dip in river Ganga at Har Ki Pauri Ghat in Uttarakhand's Haridwar. Sadhus defy COVID SOPs during shahi snan. General public was allowed to take a dip till 7am. The first bath was held on March 11 on the occasion of Mahashivratri. Uttarakhand reported 1,333 new cases on April 11, taking the active caseload to 1,08,812.
Devotees in Varanasi's famous Vishwanath temple stood in long queues on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri, as they waited eagerly for their turn to perform the holy rituals on Shivling. As Hindu devotees stood in queues, people of the Muslim community were seen showering petals on them to give out the message of brotherhood in line with the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. This culture refers to the fusion of Hindu-Muslim cultures found in northern states like Uttar Pradesh, especially the region that falls between the banks of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. This was not for the first time that such a wonderful gesture was shown by the people of a particular community in Varanasi. Locals say that be it the festivals of Hindus or Muslims, we celebrate each and every festival together and the same was witnessed during Mahashivratri. Celebrated with great fervour and zeal across the country, Mahashivratri is considered most auspicious for spiritual growth. Literally translating to - the great night of Shiva, the occasion is believed to celebrate the marriage of Shiva, the Lord of destruction and Parvati, goddess of fertility, love and beauty.
In remarks that could create uproar, new Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat expressed his shock over a woman, who he met during a flight, wearing ripped jeans and was a social worker by profession. Holding parents responsible for westernisation of young children, Rawat said, "Showing bare knees, wearing ripped denim and looking like rich kids- these are the values being given now. Where is this coming from, if not at home? What is the fault of teachers or schools? Where am I taking my son, showing knees and in tattered jeans? Women are not any much less, displaying their knees. Is that good?" Devotees at Kumbh to be showered with flowers from copters on Mahashivratri.
Due to the surge in COVID cases and fatalities in Nepal, a cabinet meeting decided the closure of International Flights starting from Wednesday. Serpentine lines were seen outside the terminal of International Airport. On Wednesday, Tribhuwan International Airport remained packed with travelers before closure. Police personnel were seen requesting people to maintain social distancing. Nepal has announced to produce RT-PCR report before boarding the flight.
Amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Nepal, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has announced the closure of all domestic and international flights until mid of May. While domestic flights will be closed from Monday midnight, all the international flights will be halted from Thursday midnight. However, Nepal would operate two flights in a week to and fro India, Oli announced. In his address to the nation on Monday, the Nepali Prime Minister announced the measures which are said to remain in effect till mid of May. "Starting from May 03, 2021 midnight till the mid of this month, all the domestic flights would be suspended. From midnight of May 06, 2021 international flights will be halted. Movement of foreign nationals via land-ways to and from the nation has been banned. Regarding the entry of Nepali nationals, 13 border crossings between India and Nepal would be in operation," said PM Oli. PM Oli also announced the mobilisation of security personnel round the clock in various cities including capital Kathmandu for implementation of public health protocols as the nation struggles with the second wave of the pandemic. He also warned to take stringent actions against those who violate the health protocols which would be overseen by the Home Ministry. Oli has assigned the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to lead the public awareness campaign. Addressing the international community in English at the end of the speech, Nepali Prime Minister asked for help to fight the pandemic. Nepal reported 7,388 cases of COVID-19 from across the country on Monday. With this, the total nationwide infection count has advanced to 343,418.
Nepal is seeing rise in cases of COVID-19 and reported 7,448 new cases in last 24 hours, the highest single-day rise, as the Himalayan Nation grapples with the second wave of infection. Nepal also reported the highest death toll at 37 on Monday. The Pashupatinath Electric Crematorium, which has been running round-the-clock, is getting bodies beyond its capacity compelling authorities to conduct cremation in open ground. Nepal Army, given the responsibility to cremate or bury most of the bodies, begun making and using makeshift pyres on the bank of the Bagmati in the Pashupati area to decrease the load of electric crematorium. The electric crematorium takes one-and-a-half hours to cremate a body. The Himalayan Nation tested total of 16,658 samples using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) method and conducted 518 antigen tests in past 24 hours of which 7,399 PCR tests and 60 antigen tests turned positive for the virus. As many as 2,021 people, who were earlier diagnosed with COVID-19, have recovered in the past 24 hours. There are 12 districts with more than 500 active cases and 21 districts with more than 200 active cases in the country. A total of 50,172 COVID-19 patients are in home isolation, 3,869 in institutional isolation, 578 in ICUs and 142 others on ventilators across the country as of Monday afternoon.
Due to surge in COVID-19 cases, Nepal entered into two-week lockdown and only essential services are allowed during this time. Police kept a tighten surveillance on the vehicular movement in Kathmandu. The prohibitory order came into force, starting 6 am on April 29 and will end on May 12 midnight. Nepal has more than 30,000 active coronavirus cases currently.
India and the European Union (EU) on Saturday announced their decision to resume negotiations for a balanced and comprehensive trade agreement after a gap of eight years and unveiled an ambitious connectivity partnership, during a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of 27 member nations of the bloc. In his remarks, Modi invited the EU to support a proposal by India and South Africa to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines so that there can be equitable vaccine access for the entire world, officials said. The meeting, participated by leaders of EU member states as well as the top leadership of the EU, also decided to launch negotiations on two other key agreements on investment protection and geographical indications.
Credit: HT Digital Content Duration: 07:32Published
Union Minister Smriti Irani arrived in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi to meet the family members of deceased BJP MLA Dal Bahadur Kori, who died of COVID-19. She hugged his wife and consoled her, at the latter's residence. She is on a visit to her Amethi constituency to assess the ground situation of COVID management.
A video went viral which showed PPE-clad health officials in Himachal Pradesh's Manali Vridh Ashram grooving to the steps of a regional folk song to cheer up the COVID-19 patients. Senior citizen patients also danced on the tunes of folk song.
Kathmandu's famous Pashupatinath Temple witnessed low footfall of saints and devotees due to COVID-19 scare ahead of 'Maha Shivaratri' festival. Earlier, a large number of devotees and saints used to visit the temple on the auspicious occasion. Over 270,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Nepal.
Tribal tea garden workers in West Tripura organised a Hindu wedding ceremony for two frogs, this tradition is called 'Banger Biye.' This uncanny custom is carried out as the workers believed that it would appease the Hindu rain God, Lord Indra and thus bring rainfall, which would save them from the drought-stricken condition of their tea garden. In the marriage, 2 toads were married performing all the rituals from bath in pond or river to new dresses, exchange of garlands, and applying of vermilion.
Kerala celebrates Thrissur Pooram festival, an over 200 year old tradition, that marks one of the most auspicious times in the Malayali Hindu calendar. The celebrations have been massively scaled down amid the Covid-19 pandemic this year.
#ThrissurPooram #Kerala #TempleFestival
Jharkhand Congress MLA Irfan Ansari stoked controversy by performing puja at a temple. Ansari performed puja at Deoghar's Baidyanath Dham temple, a sacred abode of Lord Shiva. BJP MP Dr Nishikant Dubey demanded arrest of Ansari after he offered prayers at temple. Dubey claimed that entry of non-Hindus is strictly not allowed at Baidyanath temple. The MP from Godda demanded that Jharkhand's JMM-led govt order arrest of Ansari. He also sought action against the deputy commissioner and SP of Deoghar. Meanwhile, Ansari accused Dubey of playing dirty politics in the name of religion. Ansari, MLA of Jamtara, had entered temple's sanctum sanctorum with his companions and performed puja. Ansari claimed that he has been coming to the temple since childhood to seek blessings.
Credit: HT Digital Content Duration: 04:03Published
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Nishikant Dubey on April 16 said that today it is a black day for Deoghar as Congress MLA Irfan Ansari entered the Baidyanath Dham temple besides being a non-Hindu. Dubey said, "Entry of non-Hindus is not allowed in Baidyanath Dham temple at Deoghar. But Congress MLA Irfan Ansari entered the temple. I've spoken to chief secretary, demanding suspension of DC and SP. I've also demanded that Ansari be booked under NSA."
Tens of thousands of devotees gathered in Bhaktapur city in Nepal on Sunday to celebrate the arrival of New Year with chariot festival despite the coronavirus pandemic. Devotees flocked to the Taumadhi..