Maha Shivaratri 2017: Stunning images show holy men smoking cannabis and smearing their bodies with ash

Hundreds of holy men have gathered to celebrate the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri.

The men, traditionally called Sadhus, will perform holy rituals at Pashupatinath temple in Nepal today.

Nepal temporarily lifts the ban on marijuana for the holy festival so holy men can smoke it to imitate the Hindu God Shiva.

However, they are not permitted to sell or allow pilgrims to smoke the drug and must only consume it in the temple. They can also press the ash to the heads of pilgrims using their thumbs.

Pilgrims instead are only allowed to pour milk over a stone phallus, offer up fruit and sandalwood paste and burn incense.

One Sadhu called Giri explained the ritual at the temple a few years ago, saying: ‘After I smoke I get a feeling that I have overcome worldly pleasure and dissolved myself in the universe.’

Giri, who had not cut his dreadlocked hair and beard for 17...

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