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15 Smokin’ Photos From “Marijuana Day” At Pashupatinath Temple

BY WENDY HUNG

Pashupatinath Temple worshippers

Visiting the Pashupatinath Temple during Hindism’s Maha Shivaratri festival is one for the books.

First sight upon entering the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site may leave your jaws drop as thousands of religious devotees and sadhus (holy men) sprawl across multiple sections of the Hindu holy epicenter. Located in the east of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, Pashupatinath Temple is on the banks of the Bagmati River where worshippers bathe as a rite of purification. Ashrams, images, inscriptions, sadhus in long dreadlocks are vibrant characteristics making the celebrated temple a must-see.

SEE ALSO: 10 MAJOR Reasons Why Nepal Rules

But what about all that cannabis? Particularly during Maha Shivaratri festival, which local Nepalese call it “Marijuana Day” indicating a day when smoking pot is legal in Nepal, the smell of marijuana – widely used during the celebration of Shivaratri – overcasts the temple grounds. In fact, it’s a popular characteristic of sadhu ritualism which is their utilization of marijuana (known as charas) as a form of a eucharist in line with their worship of Shiva who was believed to have an adoration or affinity for the leaves of the plant. 

A large population of sadhus gather at the temple during this time of the year, they’re known to stand on one leg for years on end or remaining silent for a dozen years. Most sadhus engage in some form of religious practice, including: devotional worship, hatha yoga, fasting,  and consumption of certain forms of cannabis all carry religious significance.

Here are 15 incredible images taken from this year’s Maha Shivaratri festival (Feb. 17, 2015) at Pashupatinath Temple. Feast your eyes…

START SLIDESHOW:

Wendy Hung contributor profile Nepal

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