PATNA: Lord Shiva temples in the city and their priests have started making preparations for the monthlong Shrawan Mahotsava beginning July 10.

Local priest R K Trivedi said the holy month of Shrawan this year would have five sacred Mondays, ending on August 7. Thousands of devotees throng the temples on Shrawan’s Mondays to offer their obeisance, also known as Somvari Puja, to Lord Shiva.

Incidentally, Raksha Bandhan will also be celebrated on the concluding Monday of Shrawan.

According to priest Umesh Kumar Dwivedi of the Lord Shiva temple at Boring Road roundabout, 300 and odd devotees visit the temple on normal days throughout the year while the number of devotees go up to 2,500 on Shrawan Mondays. Even on other days of Shrawan, 1,200 to 1,500 devotees visit the temple daily, he said.

The temple, otherwise shut for three hours daily, is kept open throughout the day during the month of Shrawan in view of the heavy rush of devotees.

Preparations are also afoot to illuminate the temples on the occasion. “Every year, one or two devotees come forward with an offer to bear the expenses of lighting arrangements at our temple,” Dwivedi said.

The famous Mahavir Temple near Patna Junction has also started preparations for the fest as a large number of devotees visit the temple during the month. They include those wishing to conduct Rudrabhishek.

“We have started bookings for Rudrabhishek,” Mahavir Mandir Trust secretary Kunal Kishor said, adding the Rudrabhishek rituals would be performed simultaneously at three places on the temple premises from 5.30am till 10.30pm every day.

The temple manager, Nagendra Ojha, said the Rudrabhishek bookings began as early as May 11. “We do not have any slot left now for Monday or Nagpanchami. However, certain options are available on other days,” he said and added the booking process as such did not involve any cost.

Flower sellers have also increased their supply orders for the month. According to Shivratan Malakar, who has been selling flowers outside the temple at Boring Road roundabout for 32 years now, the demand of ‘belpatra’ and ‘dhatura’ (which are specially offered to Lord Shiva) besides flowers goes up during the month.

“On Mondays, I sell these items worth Rs 2,500, up from Rs 1,000 or so on other days,” Shivratan said.