By Sampada Anuranjanee Khatiwada, Kathmandu, Feb. 25: Preparation for the celebration of Mahashivaratri at Pashupatinath temple this year was on point. On the eve of Mahashivaratri, the Pashupatinath temple premises was glowing with the decoration of varieties of flowers.
More than 200 workers were mobilised for six days to complete the decoration in the Pashupatinath premises. Flowers worth Rs. 20 million were imported from various countries, including Thailand, Australia and India, by two Indian devotees Sanjeev Sipa and Chetan Hada.
The festival itself and the decorations had attracted millions of devotees to the temple but on the day after the festival, all the flowers which were placed at humans’ reach went missing.
The devotees had apparently plucked out all the flowers from the temple premises.
“I plucked out the flowers to keep them in my house,” said a lady, who was tugging roses from one of the flower-boards in the temple. “These flowers are going to rot here anyway. I will water them and decorate my house.”
Hira Siwakoti, 42, another devotee, who was also plucking flower decorations, said, “Everyone is plucking out the flowers as Lord Shiva’s ‘prasad’. I also decided to jump on the bandwagon.”
“We were deployed to shoo the monkeys if they try to destroy the flower decorations,” said a security official, who was warning Siwakoti to not pluck out the flowers. “The monkeys seem to be liking the decoration as they haven’t even touched it. But it was challenging to save the flowers from humans.”
It is upsetting how the flowers could be saved from animals and not from human beings, who are apparently ‘social’ animals, she added.
Dr. Pradip Dhakal, Member Secretary of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), said, “We could save the flowers from the monkeys but not from devotees.”
“Majority of the devotees visiting the temple on the day of Mahashivaratri and even in the following days were seen stealing the decorated flowers and we were unable to stop them,” Dhakal said.
He said that it would have been possible to stop and even reprimand people from destroying the decorations, if they had been fewer in number.
Millions of devotees were in the temple premises on the occasion. It was impossible to run after each one of them, he added.
It is ridiculous to witness the deplorable situation of the Pashupatinath where people are destroying the flower decorations instead of offering them to the lord, said Prashna Khadka, 23, who was voluntarily helping to manage the crowd at the temple.
All the concerned authorities’ effort to mark the festival and also increase the tourism prospect of the temple has gone in vain because of this disgraceful act of people, she added.
“We Nepalis should look at ourselves in the mirror, before claiming our rights from the government,” she said. “We owe ‘civic sense’ and duties to the government. We should fulfill our responsibilities before blaming the government for everything.”
Both, Dhakal and Khadka said that the monkeys were found to be more civilised and disciplined than humans.