Maha Shivratri – ‘Great Night of Shiva' is a very popular Hindu festival celebrated every year. During the Maha Sivratri, Hindus around the world pay homage to the great Lord Shiva - The Supreme God; The God of Destruction and The Auspicious One.
According to Hindu Mythology, Maha Shivratri is Lord Shiva's favorite day and also marks his wedding anniversary to Parvati.
On this day, Hindus stay up all night chanting sacred mantras, shun food and drink, and perform marvelous rituals out of his mere love and respect.
In the early morning, the devotees visit temples to present bael (gold apple leaves) and offer cold water and milk on the Lingam or Shivling – a representation of Lord Shiva in Hindu Temples. The ‘Holy Men’ known as Sadhus visit shrines to hand out marijuana to worshippers and play instruments to heighten spirituality.
Here are some brilliant images from the auspicious event.
A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, smokes marijuana on a chillum (pipe) at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during The holy men mark the occasion by praying, smoking marijuana and smearing their bodies with ashes.
A man performs with fire as he takes part in a religious procession on the occasion of Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. Hindus across the country celebrate Mahashivratri, better known as Lord Shiva's wedding anniversary.
A sadhu laughs as he explains to fellow Shive devotees.
A man dressed as Hindu Lord Shiva performs with fire during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad
A man dressed as a demon performs with a bone during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad
A Hindu devotee places his offerings onShivling (a symbol of Lord Shiva) while praying inside a temple.
Hindu sadhus, play traditional instruments as they sit at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival.