New Delhi: Maha Shivaratri
, according to the Hindu calendar, is celebrated a day or two before the new moon in the month of Phalgun (February-March). Hindu mythology says Shiva, one of the holy trinity along with Vishnu and Brahma, married Parvati on this day. Hindus offer special prayer to the lord of destruction.
Devotees also take out processions to celebrate the holy marriage. A symbolic marriage of Shiva and Parvati was performed by priests in the Shiva temples in the evening.
"Another story linked to this day is that Lord Shiva is said to have performed Tandava -- the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction," according to a priest.
There is also a belief behind the celebration of Maha Shivaratri. It is said that lord Shiva became ‘Neelkantham’ (blue throated) as he swallowed the fatal poison that came during the ‘Samudra Manthan’ (churning of ocean). It was said that poison was so deadly that even a single drop may the entire world in its ambit and may damage it up to the deadliest extent.
Shivratri therefore is also celebrated as a day of thanksgiving to Lord Shiva for protecting us from eradication.
People offer milk, bilva patra (Bel leaves), Gangajal (Ganga river water), flowers and sweets to Shivalingams.
Among many gods in the Hindu religion, Shiva holds a special place for his role in both creation and destruction.
Devotees keep daylong fasts and offer prayers. Many unmarried girls also fast and pray on this occasion in the belief that it helps them get good husbands.
Here are list of few temples across India were Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with religious fervor.
- 11th Century Lingaraj temple in Orissa, Bhubaneshwara
- Akhanadalamani temple at Aradi in Bhadrak district of Orissa
- Loknath temple in Puri
- Srikalahasti temple near Tirupati in Chittoor district
- Keesergutta temple near Hyderabad
- Mahakaal temple in Ujjain city in Madhya Pradesh
- Shiva Temple in Kerala
wishes all our readers a blessed Shivratri.