Total Duration:03 Days
Trip Grade: Easy
Max Elevation:1350 Mtr.
Best Time:March or April
Shivaratri is an annual Hindu festival popular in both India and Nepal. Of all the many festivals in Nepal this is probably the favorite for many reasons. The primary being that there not too many tourists around as it’s usually held in the second or third months of the year which is the end of winter.
With few tourists around you’ll be surrounded by Nepalese and Indian pilgrims a like making it that bit more special. That said it’s also an extremely crowded festival and one that might not be on the Nepalese map in its current form for much longer.
Shiva is the God of the Yogis who is self-controlled and celibate. However he is also a lover of his spouse (Shakti/Parvati). Lord Shiva is also known as the destroyer of the world accourding to Hindu mythology. Shiva is often depicted as being blue due to a poison he drank that could have destroyed the universe. Parvati tightened a noose around his neck so he could not fully swallow it. So it turned blue. Shivaratri or Maha Shivaratri means the great night of Shiva or the night of Shiva, it is a festival to celebrate the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.
There are several versions of how and why this festival appeared.
Two common beliefs include:
•Parvati (Shiva’s wife) prayed and meditated on the 13th night of the new moon to ward off any evil that might befall her husband.
•With the world facing destruction Parvati asked her husband Shiva to save it by dedicating a night where living souls would become active again and upon worshiping Shiva would have his blessings. Hence it became known as the night of Shiva.
Unusually for Nepal rumors and chat about Shivaratri start a week before hand. I say unusually as the normal thing is to wake up and find out that there’s a festival going on that day. Advanced notices about festivals are not that common place in Nepal. Shivaratri is different though as it’s one, if not the most important festival in the entire year. During the week before Shivaratri noticed a few more Sadhu’s or holy men appear on the streets. Most have made a walking pilgrimage from Nepal, India and all around the world to visit Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu Nepal.
There are quite a few Sadhu,s who walk around completely naked during Shivaratri. This is normal. Many will often be lost in a trance and dance by the Ghats. They usually attract a crowd and have been taking hashish.
Nepal is one of the few countries in the world that makes it legal to consume and carry Hashish during the time of Shiva Ratri. You’ll notice Sadhus openly smoking hashish in and around Pashupatinath.Likewise back in Kathmandu hashish becomes freely available in many forms. Do be careful when ordering Laddu or any form of cake or Special Lassi (milkshake) that day as it will likely have an additional ingredient some might want to avoid.