Maha Shivaratri is celebrated across India with great fervor and gaiety. Here is an account of Shivaratri celebration across India.

Maha Shivaratri in India

The festival of Mahashivaratri is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm all over the country. Falling on the 13th or the 14th day of the dark half of Hindu month of 'Falgun' which corresponds to the period between February & March, this festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Commemorating the marriage of Lord Shiva to Parvati, the festivities of Mahashivaratri take place mostly at night. On this occasion grand prayers held all over the country and even aboard by the Hindus and offering are made to the great lord, the destroyer of evil. The vigor and enthusiasm amongst the devotees of lord Shiva, all throughout the country is remarkable and the celebration take place in all the regions of the country as per the local traditions and rituals. Though, popularly this day is believed to be the day on which Shiva got married to Parvati, however, there are several legends associated with the celebration of Shivaratri. If you wish to learn more about Mahashivaratri celebrations all across India, read on.

Maha Shivaratri Celebration India

Legend Associated With Shivaratri
There are innumerable legends pertaining to the celebration of Mahashivaratri. According to one of the legends, goddess Parvati performed prayers and offered sacrifices to protect her husband from all evils. It is said that since then, all the women have been praying for the good health and long life of their husbands on this day. Unmarried girls also offer prayers to get an ideal husband, like Shiva.

Maha Shivaratri Celebrations in India
In different regions of the country the festival of Shivaratri is celebrated in different manners. In Ujjain, which is known for its grand and dazzling Shivaratri celebrations, a large number of devotees visit the temple of Mahakaleshwar. Here, the great Shiva lingam is bathed in milk and is worshipped in accordance to all the religious rites and rituals. In Matangeshwar, Khajuraho, on the occasion of Shivaratri, grand puja is organized and devotees from all across the country pour in to offer their prayers and to witness the splendid celebrations. The Shiva lingam of Matangeshwar in khajuraho is considered to be the biggest in India and is the only temple in the thousand-year-old khajuraho temple complex where worship still continues.

In Andhra Pradesh pilgrims gather in huge numbers at Sri Kalahasteshwara temple, Kalahasti he Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy temple, Srisailam to pray to Lord Shiva on this auspicious day and seek his blessings. As Andhra Pradesh has always been one of the important centers of the Saivism, here the festivities and the jubilations during Shivaratri are magnificent and unparalleled.

Kashmiri Pandits have traditionally been the great devotees of Shiva and here the Mahashivaratri celebrations hold a special meaning which span across 15 days. The 13th day of the celebrations is known as the Herath, which is believed by the Pandits to be the day of marriage of Shiva and Parvati and is celebrated with remarkable zest and gaiety. In the eastern states like the West Bengal, on this day unmarried girls observe day-long fast, stay awake the whole night and sing devotional songs and pray to lord Shiva to for virtuous husbands. In Allahabad, innumerable devotees take a dip in Sangam, the confluence of the river, Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical river, Saraswati and pray for the absolution from all past sins. In the north eastern state of Assam, innumerable devotees turn up every year on the occasion at Umananda Temple, situated on the peacock island in the middle of Brahmaputra near Guwahati, to offer their prayers.

In Karnataka the Lingayats, the followers of the Lingayat cult of lord Shiva, observe this occasion with immense devotion and enthusiasm In Maharashtra on the occasion of Shivaratri all the temples of lord Shiva resound with Vedic mantras and shlokas. People observe a fast, keep awake at night and distribute alms, food and sweets amongst the poor.

Though, the customs and rituals associated with Shivaratri may differ in different regions of the country but the essence of the festivities remains the same all around India. Lord Shiva is an ascetic god, and hence on this occasion devotees, a drink called Thandai, made with bhang (cannabis), almonds, and milk, is served to all the devotees, particularly the ascetics.