Devotees thronged temples in the tricity starting as early as 4 am to celebrate the festival of Mahashivratri. Around one lakh people visited the Saketri Shiva temple today and offered prayers.  

Around three lakh litres of milk, 36,000 bananas and 35 quintals of jujube (ber) fruit were part of the offerings at the Saketri temple, according to temple president Madan Lal. Makeshift stalls outside the temple distributed milk and snacks laced with bhang even though it is not allowed.  

People said the number of devotees who visited the temple this year was less as compared to last year. One reason behind this could be that no VIP passes were distributed this year. Until last year, as many as 10 people would enter on a single pass as part of the family even though only one person was allowed per pass.

This year, however, the practice was discontinued. Meanwhile, temples across Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali were flooded with devotees. The Sector 29 temple in Chandigarh offered “badam milk”, which was a hit among devotees. Aman, a city resident, said, “Every year, I visit this temple and have milk but this year the badam milk was amazing.”  As many as 60 children got separated from their families at the Saketri temple during the day.

Over 40 private security personnel and volunteers who were at the temple would drop them to a room where a person was employed to make announcements. The public announcement system was effectively used and all 60 children were reunited with their families. Last year, 55 children got separated and were reunited while the number stood at 85 in 2015.