The Maha Shivaratri Festival will be celebrated by Hindus the world over on March 7, and is celebrated annually in reverence of the Hindu God ‘Shiva’. It is said to be the day that Shiva saved the universe by drinking poison and also the day he was married to the Goddess Parvati. Often referred to as Shivaratri, the festival is celebrated by most during the day, while others hold all-night vigils to celebrate the event which falls on a day in the most holy month in the Hindu calendar year.
Here we look at 21 pictures of Nepalese and Indian Hindus offering special prayers and fasting to commemorate the occasion
1. A Nepalese Sadhu (Hindu holy man) looks on during preparations for the Maha Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu on March 7.
2. A man paints coloured paste onto his face during the Maha Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu.