Chanting of ‘Om namah Shivayah’ reverberated across the city on Sunday — Mahashivaratri — one of the important festivals for Hindus across the country.
All Shiva temples in the city were decorated specially for the festival. Special abhishekas and rituals were performed.
‘Bilva patre’ (Bael), which is said to be the favourite of Lord Shiva and considered to be a sacred herb, was sold like hot cakes outside Devaraja Market. Vendors found a way of making quick money and felled branches of trees. A handful of leaves were sold for Rs 10 to 15.
While religious persons were fasting for the whole day, followed by night vigil (jagaran), others had ‘avalakki’ (puffed rice) and fruits to overcome hunger.
There were serpentine queues in front of all Shiva temples since morning, with devotees patiently waiting to have darshan of the Lord and offer prayers. Temples were kept open throughout the night to facilitate those observing night vigil.
Thousands of devotees offered prayers at Amrutheshwaraswamy temple on Dewan’s road. Chandramouleshwaraswamy temple on Matrumandali Circle had organised several puja rituals that were held between 6 am and 1.30 pm. Thousands of devotees waited patiently in long queues and had darshan.
Trineshwaraswamy temple near Jayamarthanda gate of Amba Vilas Palace too attracted devotees with the lord decorated with golden mask on the occasion. The queue was more than half a kilometre on the palace premises and devotees seemed to have not been deterred by the scorching sun. The ‘Bindu Theertha’ pond was open after 75 years.
Apart from special pujas, music programmes were organised at Kameshwara, Kameshwari temple on Ramanuja road by Rama Mahila Bhajana Mandali and Vasavi Vanitha Trust.
Seer Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji performed pujas to 12 ‘shivalings’ at Avadhoota Datta peetha on Ooty road. Music programme and Mandolin recital was also held. The 108 shivlainga temple on Ramanuja road, Yoganarasimhaswamy temple in Vijayanagar and Mata Amritanandamayi mutt also held special pujas.