GUWAHATI, Feb 20 � Shivaratri, the special occasion for worshipping Lord Shiva, the God of well-being, was celebrated with great religious fervour in the State along with rest of the country. Even at some of the Vaishnavite monasteries, the God was worshipped with pomp and gaiety. Thousands of devotees flocked every Shiva temple and waited for hours in queues to pay homage to the Lord, one of the trinities of the Hindu mythology.
In Guwahati, great enthusiasm was seen among the devout Hindus, especially women, to pay their obeisance to the Lord. People offered bel (wood apple) leaves, water, milk, clarified butter (ghee), sandalwood paste, flowers, honey, saffron, dhatura, etc., on the Shivalingas as mark of their reverence.
Umananda temple, on the river island Umananda in the midst of the Brahmaputra, witnessed a huge rush of people since early this morning. The temple was opened at 3.30 am and devotees thronged the temple throughout the day. �More than 50,000 people came to the temple for puja today. Considering the rush, the Inland Water Transport (IWT) Department operated ferry services at an interval of five minutes from Uzanbazar. However, after 5 pm, the ferry services from Uzanbazar to the temple was stopped in order to deploy more ferry boats to bring back the devotees to the city from the island,� Pulak Mahanta, chairman of Umananda Mandir Parichalana Samity told The Assam Tribune.
�Security arrangements were done throughout the city for conducting the Shivaratri festivities smoothly in the city. In Umananda, Sukreswar and Basistha Ashram, special arrangements have been made to control the rush,� said SSP, City, AJ Baruah. �Bhimeswar Dwadash Jyotirlinga, in Garhchuk area of the city fringe also witnessed devotees from different parts of the country,� he added.
Sukreswar temple in Panbazar area of the city also witnessed long queues of people waiting for their turn to get inside the main temple. Many of the devotees collected water from Brahmaputra river to worship Lord Shiva. Shops selling Puja items like bel leaves, flowers, earthen lamps, incense sticks, etc., and operating in the vicinity of the temple also did brisk business today. Similarly, a large number of devotees flocked the Hanuman temple in Lachit Nagar, Shiva temples in Chenikuthi, Pub Sarania, Gandhibasti area of the city.
�Around 70 per cent of the devotees, who thronged the Lankeshwar temple in the city were women. More than 20,000 people came to the temple premises today,� said president of Lankeswar Dham Management Committee, KK Kalita.