KARNATAKA

Devotees throng Shiva temples in Hassan, Hampi

RELIGIOUS FERVOUR: Sri Vidyaranya Bharati Swamiji of Vidyaranya Math in Hampi placing the golden mask on the Sri Virupaksha, the principal deity of Hampi, on the occasion of Mahashivaratri on Friday and (right) devotees queuing up outside the Shiva t emple in Hassan on Friday.

RELIGIOUS FERVOUR: Sri Vidyaranya Bharati Swamiji of Vidyaranya Math in Hampi placing the golden mask on the Sri Virupaksha, the principal deity of Hampi, on the occasion of Mahashivaratri on Friday and (right) devotees queuing up outside the Shiva t emple in Hassan on Friday.  

Staff Correspondent

They performed `abhisekha' to a Shivalingam

Deve Gowda offers special puja at temple in Haradanahalli In Hampi, many took a dip in the Tungabhadra before having a darshan of Sri Virupaksha

HASSAN: There was an air of festivity in Hassan on Friday and roads were empty as people queued up before Shiva temples to offer prayers on the occasion of Mahashivaratri. In Shankar Puram, thousands of devotees took out a colourful procession with folk artistes performing "Hejje kunitha" and "Veera gaase". The devotees brought water from a tank half a kilometre away and performed "abhisekha" to a newly installed Shivalingam. Devotees were seen queuing up outside five temples since early morning. Malleswara temple in Shankar Puram, Eswara temple in Shanti Nagar, Shivalingeswara temple in Thanneeruhalla (near Ayurveda College), Shiva temple in Market and the Sangameswara temple. Puja's were conducted in all these temples throughout the day.

Special puja

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda performed special puja at the Shiva temple in his native village Haradanahalli in Holenarsipur taluk, 55 km from Hassan. After performing puja, Deve Gowda went to Padavala Hithalu.

Every year on Mahashivaratri, Mr. Deve Gowda performs special puja at the Shiva temple.

Bellary Staff Correspondent reports:

Mahashivaratri was celebrated with religious fervour across the district on Friday. A number of devotees from different parts of the State visited Hampi, which is considered the "Dakshina Kashi", and had a dip in the Tungabhadra before having a "darshan" of Sri Virupaksha, which is the principal deity of Hampi and Vijayanagar rulers.

Shivaratri is one of the four occasions in the year when the Shivalinga (Sri Virupaksha) is decorated and special pujas are held. A golden mask, with precious stones, including rubies and diamonds, is placed on the Shivalinga.

The golden mask was donated by Sri Krishna Devaraya, said to be the most powerful emperor of Vijayanagar empire, to commemorate his coronation function in 1509.

The mask weighs nearly three kg. Sri Vidyaranya Bharati swamiji of Vidyaranya Peetha placed the mask and also offered puja.

Special pujas will held six times, three during the day and three at night.

Elsewhere, people were seen visiting various Shiva temples, participating in special pujas and offering prayers.

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