Pradosh vrat is one of the most auspicious and significant vratas of Hinduism. It is a fast observed in the honour of Lord Shiva. The Pradosh vrat falls on the 13th lunar day (Trayodashi) during the waxing and waning phase of moon in the Hindu lunar calendar.
The pooja time of Pradosh is usually between 4.30 pm and 6 pm on Trayodashi. It is considered to be the best time to invoke Lord Shiva’s blessings. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva on Pradosh day relieves the worshipper from sins and he attains Moksha.
Among all the poojas performed for Lord Shiva, the Pradosh Puja is considered to be the more auspicious one. It is believed that during Pradosh period, all the universal beings and Gods come down to earth and attend the pooja.
WAS SHIVA A MAN OR MYTH OR JUST THE DIVINE REALITY? Pradosh indicates the time when the sun and the moon are in a horizontal line during their movement on their respective axes. Hence, it is considered to be the most auspicious time to keep a fast in order to please Lord Shiva. Of all the Pradosh vrats, Shani Pradosh and Soma Pradosh are of great importance.
As the legends of Pradosh say, during the churning of the ocean, Vasuki, who is the king of serpents, was used as the rope to churn the water body. During the process, Vasuki underwent a lot of scratches and emitted powerful poison which was enough to destroy the world. As living beings started to suffer, Lord Shiva came to the rescue.
The Lord consumed the poison to protect rest of the beings. Goddess Parvati then contained the poison in Lord Shiva’s throat through Her miraculous powers and thus, His throat turned blue. That is why Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth or the one with the blue throat.
It is believed that it was on Trayodashi that the Gods and demons realised their mistake and prayed to Lord Shiva for forgiveness. Lord Shiva forgave and blessed them. This particular time is called Pradhosham.
It is believed that if anybody prays to Lord Shiva at that time, He fulfills their wishes and gives them salvation.
Most people observe fast on the day of Pradosh. The pooja is performed in the afternoon, followed with Abhishekam of the Shivling. The Abhishekam is done 48 minutes before sunset till 144 minutes after sunset. A bath is taken one hour before sunset and Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Ganesha, Skanda, and Nandi are worshipped. Following this, Lord Shiva is invoked. The Pradosh story is read out after the formal worship is concluded.