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Cannabis sale peaks ahead of Hindu festival in northern India

posted 19 Feb 2012, 15:18 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 19 Feb 2012, 15:18 ]

Sale of Indian cannabis preparation 'Bhang' rises ahead of Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri in northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

VARANASI, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA (FEBRUARY 18, 2012)  (ANI) - Indian Cannabis sale has picked up ahead of Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri in the holy ancient town of Varanasi in northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Local shops are bustling with customers eager to purchase 'Bhang', a delicacy made of cannabis, which is considered as a traditional offering for Hindu God Shiva.

Sale of Bhang has risen ahead of the festival that would be celebrated with much fervour by Hindus across the world on Monday (February 20).

"It is the Hindu festival of Shivaratri and people of Kashi like to consume Bhang. Visitors who wish to participate in the festival are already here and would also be consuming the offering," said Munna, a Bhang vendor.

Bhang is made in various forms, like cooling beverage when made with milk, sweets, appetizer (churan) etc and is popularly consumed by Hindu devotees.

Some enthusiastic locals shared the significance of Bhang with mediapersons.

"In Kashi people revere Baba Bholenath (Hindu god Shiva) and use 'Bhang' with a lot of faith as traditional offering. People of Varanasi are very fond of Bhang and everyone consumes it during Shivaratri," said Dwarka, a local and devotee of God Shiva.

Maha Shivaratri or Mahashivratri falls during the dark half of the month of Magh. A day of strict fasting accompanied by Lord Shiva's worship and vigil precedes the festival, which is celebrated with great rejoicing and feasting. It is regarded as extremely auspicious festival.

The festival celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati, and holds immense importance in Hinduism.