The oldest Shiva temple in the city - Shri Badwale Mahadev Mandir at Sindhi Market, Kayasthpura - is going to celebrate Mahashivratri on a smaller scale due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The devotees will be able to witness various rituals of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parwati, including Shiv Baraat and Varmala, on the Facebook page of the temple.
"We celebrate the marriage of the Lord for 21 days," says Sanjay Agrawal, a member of the Shri Badwale Mahadev Mandir Sewa Samiti and Trust and the convener of the temple committee.
The celebrations begin with Ganesh Puja, followed by haldi-mehndi ceremony, which was held on Tuesday. A day prior to the Mahashivratri, the Shivling is decorated by the 35 members of the Trust with 1.5 quintals of flowers. It is called Pradosh Sringar.
On Mahashivratri, the chief minister performs a puja of the Lord mounted on his Rath in the morning. The Shiv Baraat starts at 10 am and returns to the temple at 11 pm, along with the bride riding in a palanquin. Thousands of people take part in the baraat, including devotees dressed as bhoot-pret. The baraat also includes some 40-50 tableaux and is welcomed on the way to the Bhawani Chowk Temple, Somwara, at around 100 places by devotees who set up small daises. The Varmala ceremony takes place at the Bhawani Temple, after which the Baraat returns to the Mahadev Temple where the Panigrahan ceremony is performed. Mooh Dikhai ritual is held the next day and a grand Bhandara is organised on the Sunday that follows the Mahashivratri. The celebrations end with Bidai of Parwati on Triyodashi before Holi.
This year, there will be no 'bhoot-pret' in the baraat and the number of baraatis will be halved. The number of tableaux will be curtailed by 60% as also the number of places where the baraat is welcomed on the way. "We will request the people to follow Covid norms and avoid over-crowding," Agrawal says.
"We have arranged around 6,000 masks which would be distributed to the devotees who are not wearing them. Also we will use gel sanitizers instead of the alcohol-based sanitizers," Agarwal said. He said that the Bhandara may be cancelled. "Instead, we may organise Kanya Bhoj or Brahmin Bhoj," he says.