'Bhang' drinking session organised at Bikaner's National Bhang Congregation

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Bikaner, Feb 13 (ANI): Devotees of Lord Shiva indulged themselves in a 'Bhang' drinking session at National Bhang Congregation (NBC) in Bikaner here on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.

The Mahakaleswar Bhootnath Temple of the city organises the NBC every year and serves drinks made of milk, dry fruits, and 'bhang' (a traditional drink made from cannabis leaves.

Hari Ram Pandit, the priest of Bhootnath Temple said, "It is 32nd congregation in Mahakaleswar Bhootnath Temple. It is a unique festival in this part of the country. It is the country's best Bhang Congregation."

People from Banaras, Nagpur, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Madras etc. wait for the Bhang Congregation at Bhootnath Temple," added Pandit.

The 'Bhang' has become an integral part of Indian tradition that has become a symbolic for many things.

Vimal Pandey, a local said, "The drink is made by mixing milk, holy water from the river Ganga, sugar and crushed dry fruits with the buds and leaves of cannabis paste made in a mortar with pestle."

"People from the rest of the country enjoy the congregation and send message of 'live and let others live'," added Pandey.

The devotees consume 'Bhang' with the belief that it would help to concentrate in the worship of Lord Shiva.

Bhang has become synonymous with the festival of Maha Shivaratri.

It is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha or Phalguna in the Hindu calendar.

The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to Lord Shiva , all day fasting and an all night long vigil. (ANI)

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