During every Mahashivratri, thousands of devotees throng to the Shiva temple in Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). But this year, the SGNP authorities have requested the devotees to use bicycles instead of motor vehicles to reach the temple to celebrate the festival on Friday.
“Using bicycles will help reduce carbon footprints and protect the environment,” read the SGNP guideline note.
Anwar Ahmed, the director and chief conservator of forests, said that they are trying to promote commute via bicycles to reduce pollution. “We have arranged for over 100 bicycles for tomorrow to be made available for rent tomorrow on an hourly basis.” He added, “We will also have several buses to ferry people to the Shiva temple as cars are not allowed in that area. The aim is to do as much as we can for the environment since allowing thousands of cars into the area is dangerous for the forests.”
The SGNP director also added that they are expecting over 50,000 devotees across the Yeoor end, Borivali end and Tungareshwar Sanctuary end which also comes under the SGNP area, to visit the temple.
The guidelines issued by the SGNP authorities ask devotees to ensure their safety as well as that of the park. Entry would be permitted only from the main gate at Borivli and from the Yeoor gate. People wanting to visit the Tungareshwar temple will be allowed to enter through the Vasai gate. Entry to the forest beyond the Shiva temple would be prohibited, read the guidelines.
The festival is celebrated annually in the honour of the Hindu god Shiva and literally translates to ‘the Great Night of Shiva’.
Mahashivratri is celebrated for over three or ten days based on the Hindu solar calendar. Every lunar month, there is a Shivaratri (12 per year). The main festival is called Mahashivaratri and it is celebrated before the arrival of spring either in February or March.