Ujjain : Traditional enthusiasm and religious fervour marked the Maha Shivratri celebrations in the city on Monday.  Lord Mahakal will be offered ‘Pagadi’ or the marriage turban here on Tuesday, where the Bhasm-aarti will be organised in the mid noon. The rare ritual is held only once a year.

 Fasts, dips in holy Kshipra rivers, bhajans and kirtans were all part of the rituals carried out by the devout. At Mahakaleshwar temple the day started with Bhasm-aarti held early at 2.30 am followed by series of rituals. In the afternoon Collector Kavindra Kiyawat and ADG V Madhukumar along with wives performed the official Poojan. Chief Priest Ghanshyam Sharma offered the Poojan from Scindia family around 3.30 pm. Temple priests said, as the temple will remain open for 44 hours special night long Pooja has been organised.

 Thousands of devotees, including a large number of women, thronged various temples in the city and offered water, milk and fruits as part of the offerings at shivlingas since early morning amid chanting of religious hymns. Right since morning the devout made a beeline for temples. People had started queuing up outside the temples. It took more than 3 to 4 hours for each devotee to offer prayers or have darshan. The temples were lit up since Sunday night and were beautifully decorated with lights and flowers. Serpentine queues were seen outside all the temples and people had to wait for their turn for as long as two or three hours.

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