Mahashivratri is one of the largest and most significant among the sacred festival nights of Nepal. It is a festival that honors Lord Shiva. Mahashivratri is known as the ‘Great Night of Lord Shiva’ and according to Gregorian calendar, falls in February. According to Hindu calendar, the festival is celebrated in the month of phaguna. As per astrological tenets, the cosmos is said to be replete with divine energy on the night of Shivaratri, and devotees offer prayers to tap into this energy.
This tradition has been followed till today and no worship of Lord shiva is considered complete without the offering of the six items- bael leaves, vermilion, unbroken rice and fruits, incense, diya and betel leaves. Rudraksha is the symbolize of the three eyes of Lord Shiva. Therefore, devotee wear a Rudraksha mala also (rosary created with the seeds of Rudraksha tree) on this day. Devotees and general pilgrims mark this festival on a grand scale by fasting and keeping vigil (Jaagran); that is staying awake the whole night in praise of Mahadeva (Shiva). Lord Shiva who is known by the name of Bholenath and is the supreme embodiment of perfect spirituality fulfills all the desires of a person who prays to Him sincerely. On this day, Married women pray to Lord Shiva for the well-being and long life of their husbands and children. While Unmarried girls offer their prayers to Lord Shiva to be blessed with an ideal spouse like Him.
This day and more so the night is dedicated by the devotees of Lord Shiva for his worship, practice of various austerities & meditation. Pashupatinath Temple is considered to be one of the major centers of pilgrimage for Hindus, especially Shaivaites. Thousands of devotee come to the Pashupatinath Temple to celebrate Maha Shivaratri and the Shiva Shakti Peetham nearby. The temple is open only to Hindus with several shrines and pavilions where yogis and priests chant or meditate. Thousands of sadhus from Nepal and India come to Pasupatinath to celebrate the festival of Mahashivaratri by smoking marijuana, smearing their bodies with ash and offering prayers to the Hindu Deity Lord Shiva.Devotees of Lord Shiva dance and sing on the Eva of Mahashivaratri festival inside Pasutaptinath temple and the Shiva Shakti Peetham nearby.
Foreigners heading to Pashupatinath Temple should be aware, because only Hindus are allowed inside the main temple. Tourists can access the Bagmati River site and the Sadhu area. Government will charge NRs.500/- entry fees for foreigners to entry pasupatinath complex.