Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva that falls sometime between February and March is one of the major festivals of Nepal. This day is dedicated to the Lord of the Lords – Lord Shiva or Mahadeva who lived in Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas. Lord Shiva is the most worshiped God in the Hindu religion. More than 100,000 of Hindu devotees from India and Southeast Asia throng weeks ahead of the festival and gather in and around Pashupatinath temple – one of the holiest shrines of the Hindus in Kathmandu to pay their homage to Lord Shiva on his birthday.
“Pashupatinath” literally means the Lord of animals as Lord Shiva is considered as the guardian and protector of everything that exists in the Himalayan Kingdom. On this holy day, worshipers take dip and bath in the holy river at early dawn and fast for the whole day and stay around fire to keep them warm as it is still winter in Nepal. The devotees also freely indulge in using marijuana and other intoxicating substances as these things are believed to please Lord Shiva. Marijuana use is considered legal on this sacred day.