Wednesday, March 02, 2011
KATHMANDU, NEPAL : Tens of thousands of devotees, mostly from India, have arrived at Nepal's world famous Pashupatinath temple to celebrate Mahashivratri, one the most popular Hindu festival in the country.
One hundred Naga sadhus are scheduled to worship at Pashupatinath tomorrow, said officials at Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), which manages the the fifth-century Hindu shrine. The officials said 4,000 security personnel would be deployed on the occasion as they expect 500,000 people to visit the most sacred temple of Shiva.
Located on the banks of the Bagmati river, Pashupatinath is regarded as the most sacred temple of Shiva and the oldest Hindu shrine in Nepal. It is also listed in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list.
Last month, Nepalese government had set up a top panel to manage the functioning of Pashupatinath Temple, following a Supreme Court directive to streamline the management of the Hindu shrine. The temple had been at the center of a row when the government, in 2008, sacked the chief priest and other Brahmins from South India and appointed Nepalese priests to replace them. That triggered widespread protests across the country as it was a break with centuries-old tradition where Brahmins from South India have led the worship at one of the holiest Hindu shrine.
Later, Nepal's Supreme Court stayed the government regulation aimed at ending the 300-year old monopoly of Indian priests at the famed Pashupatinath.