Lucknow: Chanting ‘Bum bum Bhole’ and Har Har Mahadev, a sea of humanity descended at Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi to offer prayers and holy Ganga water on Shivling to celebrate Mahashivaratri.
Devotees thronged the temple even before it was opened at 3.30 am. There was a 2.5 kilometer long double queue along the lane leading to the temple and people waited for hours for their turn to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
For the first time, devotees coming from across the country will have a glimpse of under-construction Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Parliamentary constituency Varanasi.
Due to COVID-19 protocol, the temple administration did not allow ‘sparsh’ (touching Shivaling) darshan this year. “Devotees are not being allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum due to the huge crowd. They are allowed to offer prayers from the four gates of the Garbha Griha to follow COVID-19 protocol,” said Commissioner Deepak Agarwal.
The district administration has made elaborate security and other arrangements for the convenience of Shiv Bhakts. Three entry points were made to provide safe and secure passage to devotees and huge television screens have been put up at different locations for live darshan. Divyangs and elders were allowed entry from a separate point. They were also provided wheel-chairs.
The biggest challenge before the district administration was to control hundreds of thousands of devotees accompanying the unique ‘Shiva Barat’. The temple was opened to devotees after performing Mangla Aarti at 2.45 am. It will remain open for the next 45 hours for devotees.
After seeing the crowd of devotees at the temple, the Chief Priest Srikant Mishra said that nothing is bigger than faith which will conquer COVID-19 also with Baba Vishwanath’s blessings.
The three-day Mahashivaratri Mahotsav began on Thursday. Local artists will perform on the opening day. A kavi sammelan on March 12 and live program of Bollywood singer Kailash Kher will be the main attraction during the three-day celebration.