This year, as per Christian or Gregorian Calendar, it has fallen on 17th February. On this auspicious day, devotees observe fast and offer special prayers to Lord Shiva. Devotees chant Om Namah Shivay throughout the night of Maha Shivratri. The first word ॐ (Om) has a special significance in the Hindu religion. It is the primordial sound of the universe. It is also the source of all sounds. It is the only word that can be spoken with an open as well as closed mouth. It is the sound that joins the outer world with the inner. When one repeats ॐ for several times, it becomes a door to deep silence within - a step to enter into a deep meditation (Issitt and Main).
I reached the temple site early in the morning as I was informed that this is a special day for Hindus as they observe fast and do puja (a religious prayer) on this day. On reaching the temple, when I contacted mahant (a priest) he informed me that I need to go through the temple and observe the rituals keenly. He also assured me that he would clear all my queries during a leisure time on some other day as it would not be possible for him to explain me everything on that day due to heavy rush of devotees.
Usual timings of temple for visitors are from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon and then from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. On the days of special events, temple opens up as early as 7:30 AM in the morning for devotees. On February 17, it also opened up early in the morning. The Shiva-Vishnu temple at Dykes Road had its humble beginnings in 1993. The purpose of opening the temple was to impart religious, cultural and educational values of Hinduism to its followers, especially younger generations. I began taking rounds of the temple. The Hindu temple has a distinct appearance and architecture. Externally and internally, they look entirely different than any church, synagogue or mosque. Hindu temple can be recognized by its shape and vastness.