Devotees celebrate Maha Shivratri in Kerala

Devotees celebrate Maha Shivratri in Kerala

Cultural programmes were also organised in many temples

Representative image. (Credit: PTI Photo)

Hindu temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva, witnessed heavy rush on Friday as devotees celebrated Maha Shivratri festival with traditional zeal and religious fervour across Kerala.

Cutting across age barriers, devotees, including women and children, thronged small and big shrines since early morning to offer prayers and take part in special poojas and rituals on the occasion.

Devotees used to mark the auspicious occasion by observing 'orikkal' (fasting), dedicating the leaves of Koovalam plant, which is considered holy according to Hindu tradition, to the Lord and by abandoning their sleep chanting 'Om Nama Shivaya' mantras.

Ardent devotees even remain awake throughout the night and spend their whole day in temples.

The Sreekandeswaram Mahadeva Temple here, Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur and Maha Deva temple in Vaikom were among the major shrines which witnessed heavy rush since early morning.

Temple authorities, especially Devaswom Boards which manage many major shrines in the state, have made elaborate arrangements in Shiva temples to ensure smooth darshan for devotees.

All arrangements have been put in place on the banks of River Periyar in Aluva in Ernakulam for 'Balitharppanam', a ritual in which people pay obeisance to their ancestors.

Performing the ritual on the midnight of Shivratri is considered auspicious by devotees.

Hundreds of 'bali taras' (specially erected platforms) have been set up on the banks of the river to perform the ritual and a large number of priests have been deployed to assist devotees.

Thousands of police personnel were deployed in view of the large turnout of devotees.

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