Udhampur (J-K), Mar 6 : Thousands of devotees converged here to celebrate the mythological marriage of Lord Shiva with his consort Goddess Parvati to mark the 'Shivratri' festival.
Every year, devotees perform the marriage ceremony of a couple at Mantalai to symbolize the mythological marriage of the God Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
"We are keeping the ancient tradition of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati alive. We helped a poor or orphaned couple to tie the marital knot. Donations from devotees and the organizing committee are used to solemnize the marriage of the couple," said Maharaji Janani Dalnathji, a devotee.
This year too, the marriage of the couple, Ajay Kumar and Babli, was solemnised ahead of the festival and the couple donned the attire resembling Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The guests accompanied the bride from Jammu and reached the destination before the ceremony took place.
The couple's marriage was solemnized amid Vedic chants and Yagna rituals that witnessed the presence of a large number of devotees.
Shivratri or night of Shiva, usually falls either in February or March. This year, it will be observed on the night of March 5-6.
The Shiva Lingam (the phallic symbol Lord Shiva) is worshipped throughout the night, as people wash it every three hours with milk, curd, honey and rose water, whilst chanting "Om Namah Shivaya".
The devout observe a fast on this day with some of them not even partaking a drop of water throughout the day. They also maintain a vigil all night.