Hindus in South Asia, particularly India and Nepal, which have a majority population of people of this faith, celebrated Friday the auspicious festival of Mahashivratri, or the Great Night of Lord Shiva, one of the most important and powerful deities in Hinduism.

The faithful mark this day by chanting prayers, fasting and contemplation, and keeping all-night vigils, while holy men and householders alike make pilgrimages to important temples in honor of their beloved God.

A visual story by Piyal Adhikary, Narendra Shrestha, Jagadeesh NV and Raminder Pal Singh.