KATHMANDU, Feb 23: The Guthi Sansthan has said that it has completed all the celebratory and ritualistic preparations for Maha Shivaratri, a major Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, to be observed tomorrow.

Like in the past, the Sansthan has allocated around Rs 2.4 million for celebrating the festival.
According to Sansthan officials, preparations have been completed for organizing an early morning bathing with Panchamrit at the Pashupatinath temple on Shivaratri. The Sansthan has managed 38,000 kg of firewood for the Sadhus and saints who will get free meal from the Sansthan from February 22 to 25.

Around 1,300,000 Hindu pilgrims are expected to visit the temple this year for Shivaratri. Last year, more than 1,200,000 worshippers from within and outside the country visited the temple on the occasion of Shivaratri. According to Govinda Tondon, member secretary of Pashupatinath Area Development Trust, this year no passes will be provided to the devotees and those without tickets will have to queue up for observing the worshipping and other rituals at the temple.

“Around 2,500 Naga Babas have already arrived as of Wednesday evening and more are on their way,” said Tondon. On the main day, the worshippers will be allowed to enter the temple premises from 3:30 in the morning.

According to Tondon, 4,000 Nepal Police personnel, 2,500 Armed Police Force personnel and 400 National Investigation Department officials will be mobilized to ensure security during the festival.

On February 26, a farewell program will be organized on the temple premises where the sadhus will receive Dakshina before leaving for their destinations. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will distribute shawls, conch shells, Pitambari, Bakkhu   and water pots to the Sadhus on behalf of the Sansthan.

The Sansthan has urged the security bodies, pilgrims, social workers and media persons, among others, to co-operate with them for the success of the festival.

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