Kathua, February 13
Like other parts of the country, Maha Shivratri was celebrated across Kathua with religious fervour and enthusiasm. The auspicious occasion, which is celebrated to mark mythological marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati, witnessed prayers in temples with devotees offering water on Shivlingam and organizing of Langars etc. Since the wee hours today, there was heavy rush of devotees in all the prominent Shiv temples. People from different age groups, including children, young and elders, thronged the Shiv temples for paying obeisance and offering water mixed with milk on the holy Shivlingam. The devotees especially offered Bael and Bael Patri (Golden Apple and its leaves) to Lord Shiva while chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. All the Shiv temples were well decorated for the occasion. Several devotees also observed fast.In Kathua, huge rush was witnessed at Ancient Shiva Cave Mahanal, Shiva Mandir Sahar Khad and Mahkaleshwar Mandir Karishna Calony, which were specially decorated for the occasion. Through out the day, devotees kept visiting these temples to seek divine blessings of Lord Shiva.
The devotees were seen waiting in queues for their turn to reach near the Shivlingam for paying obeisance and offering water with flowers. To facilitate the devotees, the administration had also made elaborate arrangements besides ensuring adequate security around the temples to ensure peaceful conduct of religious celebration. Individuals and organizations had organized Bhandaras near the temples where people were served sweets and light refreshment.Historic Balkeshwar Shiv temple in Billawar and Airma temples witnessed rush of devotees on the occasion. All these religious places were well decorated for the special occasion and the temple doors were kept open since 3 A.M to facilitate the devotees and control the rush.