The golden mask or ‘Chinnada Kolaga’ adorning the main deity at Trinayaneshwaraswami temple in Mysuru for Mahashivaratri on Friday.

A large number of devotees thronged temples to mark Mahashivaratri in Mysuru on Friday, with Srikanteshwara temple at Nanjangud being the cynosure of all eyes.

The Trinayaneshwara temple in the palace precincts in the city also witnessed a surge in devotees as also was seen at Male Mahadeshwara temple on M.M. Hills, Mahabala temple atop Chamundi Hills, Chamarajeshwara temple in Chamarajanagar, among others.

In most temples, special prayers began a few hours past midnight.

Trinayaneshwara temple was opened for darshan at dawn. Located in the main palace precincts, it drew a steady stream of devotees through the day. A salient aspect of the temple is adorning the Shivalinga with the golden mask (Chinnada Kolaga) donated by the last Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar in the 1950s.

The golden mask is brought out of the treasury a day before the festival and adorns the main deity only on Mahashivaratri during the year. It is restored to the treasury the next day. The devotees braved the heat on the day. Security was strengthened.

The Srikanteshwara temple at Nanjangud was teeming with devotees from all over the State. For many pilgrims, a visit to Nanjangud during Mahashivaratri is an annual ritual that is accompanied by a dip in the Kapila. Abhisheka and Mangalarati was performed to the main Shivalinga accompanied by chanting from the scriptures. It is customary among devotees to camp in the temple precinct and maintain a vigil till dawn.

The Mahabala temple also saw a huge gathering of devotees. It is the oldest temple in the Mysuru region, reckoned to belong to 10th century A.D. The Chandramouleshwara temple at Vontikoppal and Sarawathipuram, Maruti Temple in T.K. Layout, and the Gurukula Matha, were other temples that were beehives of activity. Sri Vaidyanatheshwara temple at Talakadu, and Sri Mallikarjunaswami temple at Muduktore were among other temples that witnessed a rush on the special occasion.

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