Pashupatinath temple during Maha Shiva Ratri.
Shiva Ratri is a twenty-four-hour adoration of Lord Shiva the God of destruction in the Hindu triad and one of the valley's most revered deities. The golden-tiered Pashupatinath temple is dedicated to Shiva as Lord of animals and Nepal's patron God. The entire area has numerous shrine, bathing and cremation ghats, and scattered stone sculptures including the devoutly worshiped Shiva lingam. Throughout the year, Pashupatinath attracts sadhus (ascetics), mendicants, and other devotees, but on festival days thousands of pilgrims arrive to take a purifying bath in the sacred Bagmati river and then pay homage to the sacred lingam inside th main Pashupatinath temple. Throughout the days and well into the night, one can witness ash-covered sadhus, foreheads painted with tridents, emulating Lord Shiva by performing various yoga feats. Mahashiva Ratri is also a time for many Shivite followers to debate the Hindu texts.