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The festival of Maha-Shivaratri was celebrated on Sunday 19 February 2023 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
Maha-Shivaratri is auspicious day in the Hindu calendar for offering reverence to Lord Shiva. Swamis began the festivities in the morning by performing the ritual bathing of the shivaling, an iconic representation of the popular Hindu deity symbolising his energy and potentiality.
Devotees and well-wishers arrived at the Mandir throughout the day to offer their respects and availed of the opportunity to bathe the shivaling with panchamrut (a holy mixture of milk, yoghurt, honey, sugar and ghee). In keeping with the traditions of this festival, bilva-patra (bael leaves) were also offered.
An ice shivaling was presented in the Haveli entrance throughout the day providing a reminder of the sacred pilgrimage town of Amarnath in India where a natural ice shivaling exists.
As part of celebrations at the Mandir, an annakut (offering of food for thanksgiving) was also decoratively assembled before the deities in the shrines.