AURANGABAD: Over 4 lakh devotees thronged the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple, located near Ellora caves, on the occasion of Mahashivaratri on Friday. The temple built in 1751 is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

Kamlakar Vitekar, managing trustee of the temple trust, said serpentine queue of devotees, including hundreds of sadhus from across the state, were seen from Thursday night.

“Devotees started arriving to the temple a day before the festival and stood in queue for darshan. Devotees continue to arrive and perform traditional pooja. It seems the rituals will continue till late in the evening. Special prayers have been organised throughout the day for the devotees,” he said.

The devotees also took a dip in the holy kund that is considered auspicious on Mahashivaratri. Other rituals were also performed with traditional fervour. Maha Prasad was also distributed among devotes while many visitors were seen distributing fruits. The devotees also offered abhishek with milk, water and honey.

“The Maha pooja will be held at midnight. Besides large number of devotees, Aurangabad MP Chandrakant Khaire, district collector Nidhi Pandey and senior officers of archaeological department will attend the holy event,” Vitekar said.

Earlier, the temple trust took out a procession that saw participation of over 50,000 devotees. The event caused heavy traffic jam in the area for more than an hour. Given the rise in the number of people visiting the city, the state transport corporation and private operators ferried passengers to holy temple in special buses.

Apart from this, heavy rush of devotees was also seen at all Lord Shiva temples across the city. Maha aarti and abhikesh were performed in Khadkeshwar temple, Omkareshawar in Ulka Nagari, Pardeshwar in Palshi, Vishweshwar in Vishwabharti Nagar, among others.