Monday, 13 April 2015

The colors of Mahashivratri

slide_339338_3474947_free1Mahashivratri , the most passionate and intense festival for the Shiv Bhakts all over the world marks supreme significance in the Indian culture and Hinduism. Remarkably, Hindus all around the globe celebrate this great festival with immense devotion and respectfulness.

Events related with Mahashivratri

The biggest reason of celebration of Mahashivratri, is the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati on the 14th New Moon of Magha and Phalgun. This marriage is considered as the fusion of Shiva and Shakti. The day is celebrated in accordance with the ancient Hindu calendar on the Chaturdashi of Krishna Paksh.

Lord Shiva consuming the Halahal
Lord Shiva consuming the poison, Halahal. (Image Source – Valkyrie99 via Flickr)

Other historic and religious events related to this day include, the night when Shiva did Tandava and the day he drank “halahal” the poison which turned his throat blue. Hence, Shiva came to be known as the Neelkanth.

The Celebrations on the day of Mahashivratri

Hindus have a very deep devotion for the festival of Mahashivratri, they would get up early in the morning to take a dip in the holy river Ganga. Furthermore, Shiva temples are cleaned and washed, whereas the Shivlingams are beautifully garneted and bathed with cold water, butter milk, Panchamrita, Bilva leaves and various kinds of flowers.  A special drink, devoted to Lord Shiva known as the Bhaang is also prepared from Cannabis leaves, dry fruits and milk, and distributed among the Shiv Bhakts.  In addition to that, many Hindus believe that pilgrimage to various holy places devoted to Lord Shiva is very beneficial, during the month of Mahashivratri and therefore, they often visit places like KedarnathKailash Mansarovar and Badrinath, etc.
Also, the 12 different Jyotirlinga sites present in India, which are considered as radiant signs of the supreme god, are immensely decorated and glorified during the day of Mahashivratri. But anyone who wants to witness the grandeur and scenic beauty of Mahashivratri needs to visit the 5 different Hindu temple cities ofVaranasiUjjainHaridwarMandi and Rameshwaram.Out of these all, the city of Varanasi is specially loved by the Shiva Bhakts, as it is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage in India. Outside of India, Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal is one of the most important shrines of Lord Shiva and it hosts one of the biggest gathering on the day of Mahashivaratri.

Varanasi Ghat
Varanasi Ghat (Image Source – alex77 via Wikimedia Commons)

In Varanasi, on the day of Mahashivaratri, all the Shiva temples and shrines in and around Varanasi are elegantly adorned. A marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Parvati is also conducted in the city, mainly from the temple of Mahamrityunjaya and Kashi Vishwanath.
The people of Varanasi worship Lord Shiva by visiting these temples and offering their prayers, till late in the night. Bhaang, Datura, Coconut Milk and Cold Buttermilk are served among the followers. The whole atmosphere is very enchanting with the sounds of Temple bells and Shiva bhajans.

Ujjain Ghat (Image Source – vox1 via Wikimedia Commons)

In Ujjain, Shivaratri is celebrated with big pomp and show. People from all around Madhya Pradesh visit Ujjain and consider it as very auspicious to take a dip in the Sagar Sarovar. The complete Bhundelkand region, near Ujjain is decorated in the colors of Mahashivatri.  Shiv Bhakts also visit the great Matangeshwar Temple and pray before the supreme, Lord Shiva. Moreover, a 10 day fair is conducted at the Matangeshwar Temple, where artisans and craftsmen showcase their arts to the people. You can find various kinds of traditional handicraft, pottery and folk dresses at the fare.
Apart from the Matangeshwar temple, another famous temple devoted to Lord Shiva is Mahakaleshwar temple and it is also decorated in great fervor on the occasion of Mahashivratri.

Mahashivratri at Haridwar
Mahashivratri at Haridwar (Image Source – ahusta14 via Wikimedia Commons)

Haridwar, also known as the land of yogis and the spiritual capital of the country, is a place which is the hub of Hinduism in India. On the eve of Mahashivratri, all the temples and ghats of the city are adorned in the colors of Lord Shiva. Shiv Bhakts drink bhaang and dance to devotional music all day long. People gather atHari ki Pauri to take a dip in the river Ganga on the Mahashivratri day. During the night, the view of river Ganga from the banks of Haridwar is a very joyful and entrancing scene.

Mahashivratri Festival at Mandi, Himachal Pradesh.
Mahashivratri Festival at Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. (Image Source –

In Mandi, every year a 7 day festival is held during Mahashivratri. 200 deities of different gods and goddesses are assembled together and a fare is conducted. The main venue of the festival is the Bhootnath Temple. The festival was started by the Mandi’s royal family about 500 years ago and since, then the festival is conducted every year. Tourists from all around the country and even many foreigners come to visit this festival.

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.
Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. (Image Source – bhaskarpatty via Wikimedia Commons)

In Rameshwaram, Mahashivratri is the biggest festival of the year. Every year a 10 day festival is inaugurated in the praise of Lord Shiva. Rameshwaram’s famous temple, Ramanathaswamy is beautifully decorated with lights, flowers and colorful paper. Hymns and songs are recited in the praise of Lord Shiva and Parvati, symbolizing the fusion of two powers, Shiva and Shakti.

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Har Har Mahadev!

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