Special prayers, fasting, and nightlong vigil marked Mahashivaratri celebrations here on Thursday.
Major shrines of Lord Shiva were abuzz with religious fervour since the crack of dawn and there was a huge turnout at the Srikanteshwara temple in Nanjangud in Mysore district and the Sri Male Mahadeshwara temple at M.M. Hills in Chamarajanagar district, which attracts devotees even from neighbouring States.
Devotees began assembling at Nanjangud to visit the Srikanteshwara temple since late Wednesday night.
The bathing ghat saw a surge in the number of people taking a holy dip in the Kapila before they headed for the temple complex which reverberated with sacred hymns and chants.
Known as the Dakshina Kashi, the temple itself is at least 1,000 years old and reflects the architectural style of the early Gangas with embellishment by other dynasties.
The deity was addressed by the 18th Century warrior king Hyder Ali as “Hakim Nanjunda” as it is reckoned that the tirtha helped cure an eye ailment of his favourite elephant, according to the Mysore Gazetteer.
In Mysore city, the Trinayaneshwara temple in the main palace complex was the cynosure of all eyes where scores of Shivalingas were installed in the 300-year-old temple complex.
After offering Bilva leaves, devotees headed for the darshan of the main deity, which was adorned by a golden kavacha or Chinnada Kolaga. A gift by the late Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, it is used only once a year during Mahashivaratri.
Sri Mahabala temple atop the Chamundi Hills also saw a rush of devotees.
The hill was earlier known as Mahabala betta, but the name was supplanted by Chamundi whose popularity and patronisation increased during the last two centuries.
Sri Chandramouleshwara temple at V.V.Mohalla and Sarawathipuram Maruti temple at T.K. Layout, Gurukula, which is adorned by 108 Shivalingas, on the Ramanuja Road were other temples which witnessed a high footfall of devotees.