Mahashivaratri is one of the main Hindu festivals celebrated every year by millions of followers in India and Nepal. There are many legends and stories from Puranas which covers a lot of Lord Shiva and the celebration of this holy festival.
The most common story about Lord Shiva is related to samundra manthan where from the depth of ocean poison emerged which terrified gods and demons equally. The emerged poison said to be a threat for the entire word and only hope gods and demons saw were Lord Shiva. To safeguard the world Lord Shiva stepped forward and drank the poison which he instead of swallowing held in his throat. Thus the name Neelakantha was given to him due to the blue throat which was the result of the poison effect.
According to another legend, Mahashivaratri is celebrated as the wedding day of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. Where some believe that it is a celebration of the night when Lord Shiva performed the destruction dance “Tandava”. Anyhow, extremely auspicious Mahashivaratri is massively celebrated out of total 12 Shivaratri in a Hindu calendar year and is considered the holiest of Lord Shiva festival.
As the name suggests, Mahashivaratri is celebrated whole night chanting Lord’s name. Many peoples keep fast during day time and break their fast after offering prey to Lord Shiva during night.
Mahashivaratri is popular among Hindu females too. Unmarried women pray for an ideal husband where married women pray for the wellbeing of their husband.
On Mahashivaratri devotees starts for waking up early and taking the ritual bath in the holy river Ganga and wear fresh clothes. Visiting nearest Shiva temple for giving the bath to the Shiva Lingum with water, honey or milk.
The top Mahashivaratri recipes cooked on this holy day are Lauki ka halwa, Saboodana Kheer, and Aloo Khichdi, where Thandai is the favorite beverage for the day.
Here is the list of famous Lord Shiva Temples in India known for a grand celebration of the festival.
|Somnath Temple, Gujrat|
|Mallikarjuna Swamy Andhra Pradesh|
|Mahakaleshwar, Madhya Pradesh|
|Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh|
|Kashi Vishwanath, Uttar Pradesh|
|Grishneshwar , Maharashtra|