Om Namah Shivay!” reverberates the environment keeping the night alive, fresh bilva leaves along with white flowers are plucked, kalash full of cold milk and water are placed in all decked up aarti-plate. It’s the celebration of Mahashivtrari. It is the night and day when a Shiva bhakt dedicates his every breath in pleasing the Bholenath, who is said to fulfill his devotee’s wish when prayed with pure heart. There are numerous mythological stories behind the existence of this day; but widely believed story says-Parvati asked Lord Shiva about which was his favourite day, to which the Mahadev replied the 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of Phagun, is his most favourite day. Rest, as they say, is history! Due to Bholenath’s huge number of followers across the world, this day is celebrated in numerous ways; however we have got you a list of ‘melas’ that you must visit once-in-a-lifetime to merely experience the energy called Shiva.
Mahashivratri Fair at Kalahasti Temple
Sri Kalahasti temple, Andhra Pradesh – Located 36 km away from Tirupathi in Chittoor, this temple is nestled between two steep hills – Sripuram and Mummidicholapuram. Mahashivratiri celebrations at Sri Kalahasti go on for 12 days. Popularly known as The Sivarathri Brahmotsavam, the important aspects of this festival include Mahasivarathri, Rath yatra, puja of Nandi and other necessary rituals. On the eve of the Sivarathri Brahmotsavam, lakhs of devotees visit Sri Kalahasti to worship Lord Shiva.
Mahashivratri celebrations at Mandi
Well, Mahashivratri celebrations at Purani Mandi in Mandi have been going for the past 3 – 4 centuries. The Mahashivratri fair celebrations are a 7 day affair and all the village gods are carried to Mandi to pay repects to Madho Rao and Raja, the anointed owner of Mandi. The second day of the fair witness a parade of Gods in the large plain area called Padal, located between Beas and Suketi. Locals are known to visit the Bhootnath Temple which was discovered by the then king of Mandi in his dreams. You can very well imagine the flock of worshippers from nearby villages gathering there for Mahashivratri celebrations
Mahashivratri Fair at Shiv Khori
The hills of Shiv Khori in Jammu and Kashmir witness a heavy flow of tourists and pilgrims at a 3 day Maha Shivratri fair. Pilgrims from across India visit Shiv Khori which means cave of Lord Shiva. Within the cave, pilgrilms worship a naturally formed lingam. There is a popular belief that 33 crore idols reside in this cave in the form of Pindis and are bathed with milky water that falls on them naturally. Facilities such as guesthouses, pony shed as well as reception centers making it convenient to visit. Moreover, the paths that lead to the temple are ornamented with medicinal and ornamental plants. The Shiv Khori temple can be accessed from Jamuu, Udhampur, Katra and Reasi by road.
Mahashivratri Fair at Bhavanth
Maha Shivratri is celebrated at the ancient Bhavnath temple with a 5 days long fair. Religious music lovers gather here to enjoy the music. Lots of stalls are set up here to provide food and refreshment s to the devotees, prayer and devotional objects, puja utensils etc. One of the major main attractions of this fair is the procession of the Naga bawas, some of them are riding on elegantly decorated elephants. This procession concludes with the holy bath of these sadhus in the Mrigi Kund, which is located in the compound of Bhavnath Temple. The Maha puja is organized at the midnight of Maha Shivratri. In fact, the Bhavnath fair is popularly called as the mini Kumbh Mela.
All over India, people celebrate this festival by partaking special vrat food and drinks. One special drink which cannot be given amiss is the “Thandai”. There is a popular tradition of drinking Thandai on Mahashivratri. This drink is made using bhang (cannabis), dry fruits and milk. It is believed that cannabis is very dear to Lord Shiva, hence most of the devotees relish a couple of rounds of thandai on Maha Shivratri. Considered as prasad from Lord Shiva, this drink is aromatic and offers instant energy.
All the devotees who fast on Mahashivratri follow a diet that abstain them from food made using wheat, rice or pulses. Normally, the devotees eat fruits and drink juices, tea, milk or coffee. After performing puja, the devotees break the fast with Singhada rotis and sabudana kheer. People use sendha namak (rock salt) for cooking fast food. People also prepare yummy dishes like lauki ka halwa, potato pumpkin pancakes, etc.
Are you ready for participating in Mahashivratri celebrations.
Har Har Mahadev!!!!