Maha Shivratri Festival Celebrated: Devotees Offer Prayers to Lord Shiva [PHOTOS]

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By sangeetha seshagiri | February 28, 2014 9:12 PM EST

Hindu devotees place their offerings on a Shivling (a symbol of Lord Shiva) while praying inside a temple on the occasion of the Mahashivratri festival in Agartala, capital of India's northeastern state of Tripura
Hindu devotees place their offerings on a Shivling (a symbol of Lord Shiva) while praying inside a temple on the occasion of the Mahashivratri festival in Agartala, capital of India's northeastern state of Tripura

Maha Shivratri (Great Night of Lord Shiva), the Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, was celebrated with religious fervour by devotees.

Hindu devotees observed fast and offered prayers to Lord Shiva by pouring milk and water on the Shiv ling and adorning it with beautiful flowers.  

Maha Shivratri is observed on the 13th night/ 14th day of the 11th Hindu month of Phalguna or Maagh (February - March) every year. There are various interesting mythological stories that are being shared as to why Shivratri is celebrated. One such story is that the formless God appeared in the form of 'Lingodbhav Moorti' at midnight on Maha Shivratri and is said to be the reason why devotees stay awake in the night and offer prayers to the Lord.

To know about other mythological stories regarding Shivratri, click HERE.

Thousands of devotees took holy dip at various pilgrim destinations on the occasion of Maha Shivratri. Since early morning, several devotees formed long lines of queue in various temples in India to offer prayers, flowers and fruits to the Almighty. The day is also observed with the Hindu holy men smoking Marijuana (which Lord Shiva is said to be fond of) and smearing their bodies with ashes.

The festival was also celebrated in Nepal, where devotees from India and other South Asian countries visited the famous Pashupatinath temple to offer prayers to the Lord.

More than 4,000 saints and 150 Naga Sadhus arrived at the historic temple and offered prayers, reported The Press Trust of India. Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav and Vice President Parmananda Jha also reportedly visited the temple for the Shivratri festival.

Check below for other pictures of Maha Shivratri celebrations

Hindu devotees pray while carrying a statue of Lord Shiva during the annual Maha Shivaratri festival at Shivam Kovil in Colombo February 27, 2014
Hindu devotees pray while carrying a statue of Lord Shiva during the annual Maha Shivaratri festival at Shivam Kovil in Colombo 
A man dressed as Hindu Lord Shiva performs with fire during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad February 27, 2014.
A man dressed as Hindu Lord Shiva performs with fire during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad 
A man dressed as a demon performs with a bone during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad February 27, 2014.
A man dressed as a demon performs with a bone during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad
A Hindu devotee lights an oil lamp during the annual Maha Shivaratri festival at Shivam Kovil in Colombo February 27, 2014.
A Hindu devotee lights an oil lamp during the annual Maha Shivaratri festival at Shivam Kovil in Colombo
A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, smokes marijuana on a chillum (pipe) at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu February 27, 2014.
A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, smokes marijuana on a chillum (pipe) at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Hindu devotees place their offerings on a Shivling (a symbol of Lord Shiva) while praying inside a temple on the occasion of the Mahashivratri festival in Agartala, capital of India's northeastern state of Tripura
(Photo: Reuters / )
Hindu devotees pray while carrying a statue of Lord Shiva during the annual Maha Shivaratri festival at Shivam Kovil in Colombo
(Photo: Reuters / )
A man dressed as Hindu Lord Shiva performs with fire during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad
(Photo: Reuters / )
A man dressed as a demon performs with a bone during a religious procession at the Mahashivratri festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad
(Photo: Reuters / )
A Hindu devotee lights an oil lamp during the annual Maha Shivaratri festival at Shivam Kovil in Colombo
(Photo: Reuters / )
A Hindu holy man, or sadhu, smokes marijuana on a chillum (pipe) at the premises of Pashupatinath Temple during the Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu
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