Watch: Thousands of Lord Shiva followers gather at Har Ki Pauri ghat in Haridwar on the occasion Maha Shivaratri

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, thousands of Shiva followers assembled at Har Ki Pauri ghat in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar to take a holy dip on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.

There are several restrictions and guidelines in place to ensure the safety of the devotees offering prayers on the holy day.

On Wednesday, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat asked senior officials to take steps so that pilgrims, who come for the first holy dip on the occasion of Maha Shivratri on Thursday, are showered with flowers through helicopters.

"Following the necessary precautions, it should be ensured that the pilgrims coming to the Kumbh do not face any kind of trouble. The visitors should take a holy bath in the Ganga conveniently. Grandeur of the Kumbh must be ensured. Pilgrims who will come to the first holy bath on the occasion of Maha Shivratri should be showered with flowers by helicopters," Tirath Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Haridwar is considered one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage centres, because according to popular legend, it was here that Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair.

Maha Shivratri, also known as the 'Great night of Lord Shiva,' is a Hindu festival observed by devotees from Kashmir to Kanyakumari with much fervour. It is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the Magha month, as per the Hindu lunar calendar, and marks the night of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

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