Thiruvananthapuram: Hindu shrines in Kerala, dedicated to Lord Shiva, witnessed heavy rush of devotees Monday on the occasion of Maha Shivratri.
Cutting across religious and gender barriers, devotees including women, children and elderly, thronged temples since early morning to take part in special poojas and rituals to mark the auspicious annual festival.
Long queues and heavy rush resulted in traffic snarls near many temples including the famed Sree Kandeswara shrine here in the morning.
Elaborate arrangements were made at all major Lord Shiva shrines, including Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur, Maha Deva shrine in Vaikom and Ernakulam Shiva temple, to ensure smooth darshan for devotees, authorities said.
Arrangements have been put in place on the banks of River Periyar in Aluva in Ernakulam for 'Balitharppanam', a ritual in which people pay obeisance to their ancestors.
Performing the ritual on the midnight of Shivratri is considered auspicious by devotees.
A number of 'bali taras' (specially erected platforms) have been set up on the banks of Periyar river for devotees to perform the ritual.
Besides hundreds of priests to assist devotees, a large number of police personnel were also deployed to manage the huge crowd, temple authorities said.