GUWAHATI, Feb 27 � Maha Shivaratri, the �night of Lord Shiva�, was celebrated throughout the State in a grand manner, with devotees revering Shiva � one of the deities of the Hindu trinity, since early morning today.
Guwahati was also gripped in religious fervour since early morning today and as the day progressed, devotees were seen in serpentine queues outside Shiva temples waiting for their turn to pay their offerings to the lord.
Maha Shivaratri rituals include observing fast during day and night, performing a ritual bath of the Shivalinga with water, milk, honey and ghee, offering belpatra, flowers, and special offering of bhang and dhatura (believed to be favourite items to satisfy the Lord). The Maha Shivaratri holds a special significance for the worshippers, who perform bhajans and sing devotional songs praising Shiva for the entire night. Some special puja are also performed at Shiva temples that continue till wee hours of the next morning.
The Umananda Temple in Guwahati witnessed a huge rush of devotees and the district administration of Kamrup (Metro) made special arrangements to ensure a smooth management of the crowd. Special ferry services were provided since early morning to the island and their safe return was also ensured.
Circle Officer Lakhinandan Saharia, who is also the chairman of Umananda and Janardan temple management committees of Guwahati, said that State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel were deployed in adequate numbers with life jackets, keeping in mind the huge flow of people to the island.
The IWTD was also actively involved providing services to the devotees. Eight speed boats were especially brought to the spot for Shivaratri, apart from the big vessels. Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister MGVK Bhanu and DC Kamrup (Metro) Ashutosh Agnihotri also visited the temple premises. �Other than the items considered inevitable for worship, intoxicants were strictly prohibited on the island,� he said.
The district administration also took the responsibility of Sukleshwar Janardan Devalaya and looked after the traffic management and security of other temples, where the rush of people was more.
Sukleswar Temple, Kamakhya Temple, Basistha Temple, Lankeshwar Temple, Hanuman Temple and other temples of Lord Shiva at Panjabari, Chenikuthi, Shaktigarh and many other areas also witnessed the rush of devotees. Puja was also performed at numerous small temples and designated spaces on the roadsides throughout the city. The number of devotees swelled many times in the evening hours compared to morning, as the timing of Shivaratri was believed to start from the afternoon hours by many.