Fresh start after night full of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’

Citizens were all geared up to observe Mahasivaratri while security was beefed up at key areas
Fresh start after night full of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’
People thronged the Gangadeeswarar temple in Purasawalkam on the occasion of Mahasivaratri

Chennai

For 75-year-old Padma Venkataraman, a retired school teacher, it has been a ritual she never skipped in her life. Staying up all through the night of Mahasivaratri, she believes, is a practise that redeems her. “I have been observing it since I was seven, when I lived in Kumbakonam.  
Even after I moved to Chennai, I have continued the tradition. The Kapaleeswarar Temple is where I go to pray on the day of Mahasivaratri since I moved here in the early 70s. I usually stay back at the temple till the next morning after bearing witness to ceremonies such as homams and abhishekams all night long,” she says. 
Many Hindus believe that those who worship Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Mahasivaratri will be washed of all their sins, making it one of the most important festivals of Hinduism. 
Legend has it that Mahasivaratri is the day Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi were married. Therefore, the day brings together two of the greatest forces in the universe. Lord Shiva, known as the ‘destroyer’ of the Universe offers path for beneficial change. 
Apart from the nightlong vigil by devotees, chants like Om Namah Shivaya resonated at Shiva temples in the city like Marundeeswarar and Karaneeswarar temples. Other devotees also meditated and participated in yoga sessions to make the most of the holy day. 
Meanwhile, security was tightened in all temples of Lord Shiva as a precautionary measure. Though there was no specific threat perception in the wake of alleged intrusion of terrorists into the country through Gujarat, heightened security arrangements had been put in place across the state. 
Police sources in the city said the intelligence agencies in Delhi had issued a general alert to all metro cities in the country. 
All vital installations too had come under the police scanner. Security had been tightened all along the coast and patrolling was also intensified.  
Sources said the entire coast line from Chennai to the southern tip of Kanyakumari, including in places like Nagapattinam and Rameswaram, came under tight vigil.  

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