Covid-19: Maha Shivratri turnout of pilgrims, sadhus low at Nepal's Pashupatinath Temple

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.