Maha Shivaratri, Kathmandu, Nepal

February 28
The 2,000 year-old temple Pashupatinath, situated on the bank of the Bagmati River, is one of the most significant Hindu temples of the god Shiva, the third deity in the Hindu trinity and considered the lord of creation, preservation and destruction.While there’s a four-day build-up to the main event. There’s a celebratory flavor to the whole experience with musicians playing sitars and table drums, dancers in vibrant colors lyrically surrounding the temple, and street vendors hawking religious wares. The offerings to the stone sculptures are so numerous that their milky mixture seeps through the cracks of the temple and into the Bagmati River below. A thin white ribbon winds its way through the slow current where you can see devotees praying for days at a time with their bodies convulsing. People fast for days before the festival and smoke hashish and drink milk spiced with marijuana leaves, so it’s not surprising that you’ll see devotees in all kinds of intoxicated state.

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