Devotees are gearing up to celebrate Mahashivratri, also known as Padmarajarathri (the great night of Shiva), on Friday with thousands expected to gather at Shiv temples across the city at midnight for puja.

The festival falls on the new moon day in the month of Maagha or Phalguna according to the Hindu calendar.

In one of the ancient Shiva temples in the city, Babulnath near Girgaum Chowpatty, over 300 volunteers from nearby areas voluntarily help devotees for the entire day. One such devotee, Pinkesh Trivedi, who’s now shifted to Mira Road, is planning to go with his family to volunteer at the temple.

“I have been volunteering at the temple for more than seven years. The puja starts at 12 am and goes on till 4 am. Various abhishek pujas are done throughout the night. Volunteers decorate the temple and help manage the crowd as well. People start gathering hours before the day starts. We also go to Bhuleshwar temple to offer prayers,” said Trivedi, 34.

Another landmark Shiva temple in South Mumbai is Walkeshwar, which has around seven Shiva temples within 2 km of Banganga. Residents decorate the Walkeshwar temple and carry out a procession of Lord Shiva.

History has it that Lord Ram and his brother made the Shivlingam in the temple out of sand (known as Valu in Marathi) when they visited Banganga, and hence the name of the area.