Nepal: Devotees brave COVID-19, throng Pashupatinath temple in lakhs on Maha Shivaratri

Shirish B Pradhan
·1-min read

Kathmandu, Mar 11 (PTI) Over 5 lakh devotees, including thousands from India, thronged the iconic Pashupatinath Temple here in Nepal on Thursday on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.

A temple official said the devotees were managed in accordance to COVID-19 protocols. Pilgrims were spaced evenly in the queues, donning of masks and sanitising of hands were made compulsory.

'Arrangements were done in such a manner that the visitors could view the presiding deity within half an hour,' the official said.

Strict security measures were also in place to control the large number of devotees.

Authorities said the temple gates were opened at 4 am and that about 5 lakh footfalls were recorded till about evening. The number is set to rise as the temple will receive devotees till late night.

The visiting devotees were mostly Hindus from Nepal and India.

Groups of Sadhus who arrived from India on the occasion have been provided with 'prasadam' and accommodation, the official said.

Pashupatinath Temple is the largest temple complex in Nepal and stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River and sees thousands of worshippers from Nepal and India daily.

The entry of devotees inside the temple premises was prohibited for nine months last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was reopened in December.

Nepal's coronavirus caseload stands at 275,070, with 3,012 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. PTI SBP IND AKJ IND