Thousands of Hindu devotees travelled to the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu to observe the annual Bala Chaturdashi festival.

Bala Chaturdashi
A Hindu devotee lights an oil lamp in memory of deceased family membersPrakash Mathema/ AFP

Situated in the Sleshmantak forest, the Pashupatinath temple is considered to be the most sacred of Lord Shiva and sees Hindus from across Nepal and India travel to the Nepalese capital each year for the annual event. Bala Chaturdashi falls in late November or early December in Gregorian calendar.

Bala Chaturdashi
A Nepalese Hindu devotee lights oil lamp in memory of deceased family membersPrakash Mathema/ AFP

An all night vigil marks the beginning of Bala Chaturdashi, where people light oil candles to remember loved ones who have died. Devotees chant and dance among the dimly lit candles, paying honour to Lord Shiva. This is followed by a ritual bathing in the Baghmati river – the holiest river in Nepal. Seeds are sown around the temple in the name of departed family members and in observance of the festival. It is believed that by doing this, they can secure a better place in heaven for their deceased relatives. Devotees travel to as many temples as they can in and around Pashupatinath where they worship religious idols, before the festival ends. IBTimesUK presents some of the best photos from the Hindu festival so far:

Bala Chaturdashi
Hindu devotees sit next to oil lamps lighted in memory of deceased family membersPrakash Mathema/ AFP
Bala Chaturdashi
Devotees gather around oil lamps as they perform religious ritual at Pashupatinath TempleNavesh Chitrakar/ Reuters
Bala Chaturdashi
Oil lamps offered by devotees illuminate the Bagmati River that flows through the Pashupatinath TempleNavesh Chitrakar/ Reuters
Bala Chaturdashi
Hindu devotees offer various plant seeds during the Balachaturdashi festival at the Pashupatinath TemplePrakash Mathema/ AFP
Bala Chaturdashi
A Hindu devotees offers various plant seeds at the Pashupatinath templePrakash Mathema/ AFP
Bala Chaturdashi
A Nepalese Hindu devotee offers various plant seeds at the Pashupatinath templePrakash Mathema/ AFP