Varanasi/Srinagar, Feb 23 (ANI): Devotees across the nation observed Mahashivaratri today.
Thousands of devotees had converged on the river banks at Varanasi o take a holy dip in River Ganges. They also make offerings of flowers, sweets and incense sticks at the temples.
"The occasion of ' Mahashivratri ' comes once a year. On this day pilgrims from far off places come here to take a holy dip and also give bath to Lord Shiva's idol so that their prayers and wishes are fulfilled," said Ram Bharat Pandey, a Hindu priest, Varanasi.
In Srinagar, the devotees thronged temples to pray for their loved ones.
A highlight of the Mahashivratri in Srinagar was that even the Kashmiri Muslims participated in the celebrations sans any qualms or differences.
"I am feeling very good. We all come together to celebrate this occasion noatter whether there are Muslims or Sikhs. When we meet the Kashmiri Pandits,hey give us walnuts to eat and we also hug each other. We pray to God thatvery year we should celebrate our unity and brotherhood in the same way anday this 'Shivratri' bring peace and togetherness with it," said Mohammad Sarwar Khan, a devotee.
Lord Shiva forms part of the trinity of Gods, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, in the Hindu mythology.
Devotees of Shiva fast during the day and maintain a long vigil during the night.
On the day of Shivratri, the lingam is bathed with the five sacred offerings of a cow, called panchagavya. Thereafter, the five foods of immortality - milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar - are placed before the lingam. Dhatura and jati, though poisonous fruits, are believed to be sacred to Shiva and thus offered at his temples. Eleven is considered to be the sacred number of the Lord. (ANI)