Maha Shivratri, celebrated during Krishna paksha on the 13th night and 14th day of the Maagha month of the Hindu calendar falls on February 28 this year. The preparations by the Shivratri Festival Organising Committee are in full swing for week-long International Mandi Shivratri Fair at Mandi town in Himachal Pradesh. The fair is one of the major tourist attractions in the state, which is visited by both devotees and tourists from India and abroad.
During seven days of the fair over 200 deities are invited to the festival from its 81 temples, Mandi town has the title of 'Varanasi of the Hills'. The fair transforms Mandi town into a venue of grand celebration starting with the day of Shivaratri requiring preparations in advance to accommodate a large number of tourists and devotees.
Situated on the banks of the Beas River, Mandy town is also known as the "cathedral of temples" with the protector deity as Lord Shiva of the Bhootnath temple. On Mahashivratri, the night hours are considered an ideal time to observe Shiva Pooja during the fair. Visitors will pay obeisance at the Madhorai and Bhootnath Temples and participate in the grand Jaleb procession during the fair.
In the neighbouring county, Nepal, millions of Hindus will attend Shivaratri from different part of the world at the famous Pashupatinath Temple and various other Shiva Shakti Peethams of Nepal wherein Lingodbhava pooja will be performed.