PESHAWAR: Hindus from various parts of the city celebrated Shivratri on Monday. The festival celebrates Lord Shiva’s marriage with goddess Parvati.
“We celebrate this occasion just like Muslims celebrate Eid,” All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairperson Haroon Sarbdiyal told The Express Tribune.
Many Hindus believe they would be cleansed of their sins by paying tribute to Lord Shiva on the occasion. Men and women dress up for Shivratri; women and girls wear colourful saris and dresses and decorate their hands with henna. Women also pray for the well-being of their husbands – those who are not married pray to find a caring husband.
Fasting for feasting
Adults also fast for 24 hours. “We fast because Shiva married goddess Parvati on this day,” said Guriya, who was pouring milk on Shiv Ling, a stone structure, at Balmeek Mandir in Saddar. “We pray throughout the night [before the festivities begin] as it can help bring great fortune to us.”
Another man told The Express Tribune, “We are celebrating Shivratri here [in Balmeek Mandir]; others go to Mansehra as it is [said that is] where Shiva appeared.”
Raja, a priest at the temple, said, “Katasraj is also a temple [in Punjab] where a tear of Lord Shiva had fallen and a pond appeared there – a miracle.” He added that the temple was attacked after the Babri mosque incident. “The attackers caused destruction in the temple; they even hit the Shiv Ling with a hammer, but it did not break.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2016.