Kathmandu, Mar.5 : The coalition government in Nepal has decided that King Gyanendra will not be allowed to distribute alms and offerings to hermits and ascetics on the occasion of Shivratri.
The event used to be held at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, but the government has now decided that no monarch will henceforth be allowed to distribute alms or offerings.
Shivratri is regarded as one of the greatest festivals of Hindus, and devotees throng the Pashupatinath Temple in thousands on the day to offer prayers to Lord Shiva for their and their loved one's well being.
It has been decided that the Pashupatinath Temple's Guthi Sansthan would distribute the alms and offering to the hermits and ascetics.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting between officials of the Guthi Sansthan and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at his Baluwatar residence on Wednesday morning.
In previous years, the reigning monarch used to present the alms and offerings to the ascetics, which included one pair of clothes, blankets and minor allowances. The Guthi Sansthan used to oversee the distribution.
It might be recalled here that the King is no more the patron of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) as he used to be earlier and Nepal is no more a Hindu Kingdom.
During last year's Shivaratri festival an unidentified group had even pelted stones at the motorcade of King Gyanendra when he was returning from Pashupatinath temple.
Meanwhile, the Pashupatinath Area Development Trust (PADT) has said that it has completed all necessary preparations for Thursday's Shivaratri festival.
Over 300,000 devotees and 4,000 ascetics from Nepal and India are expected to attend this year's Mahashivaratri festival.